Come Thanksgiving weekend, Kansas University’s football team very well might be headed into a gunfight without two of its top firearms.
Kansas coach Mark Mangino said Monday morning that injured starters Jake Sharp and Kerry Meier haven’t practiced this week, and he was unsure whether they’ll be available for the Jayhawks’ Nov. 29 game against rival Missouri at Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium.
“I’m hopeful; I can’t say that I’m confident,” said Mangino of the likelihood the two will be ready to go against the No. 12 Tigers. “I’m hopeful they’ll be back. Talking with the trainer, it’s a situation where they’ve just got to get a lot of treatment and (see) how fast they heal up.”
Meier and Sharp left Saturday’s 35-7 loss to Texas during the first half after sustaining undisclosed injuries on separate plays, and neither was made available to reporters following the game.
Both have been integral parts of the team’s offense this season. Since the start of Big 12 play this season, Sharp has been the conference’s second-leading rusher and has compiled season totals of 748 yards and 10 touchdowns. Meier, meanwhile, is the team’s leader in receptions and was recently named a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the nation’s top receiver.
“What I can tell you is that they didn’t practice (Sunday),” said Mangino, whose team is 6-5 (3-4 in the Big 12). “I don’t anticipate them to practice on Tuesday, either. And from there it will just be what the trainer thinks. We’ll kind of go day-to-day with them. But they have not practiced, and we don’t see them practicing at least through Tuesday.”
Pinkel pleased to play in K.C.: As far as Missouri coach Gary Pinkel is concerned, the Border Showdown can remain in Kansas City for the foreseeable future.
Pinkel on Monday praised the series’ current arrangement — a two-year deal between Missouri and Kansas to hold their annual matchup at Arrowhead Stadium — and insisted that he wouldn’t be opposed to extending the deal a few years more.
“To say that we’re never going to have the games back in Columbia or Lawrence, I would not want to go that far,” said Pinkel, whose team has a bye week this week. “But I certainly think it’s healthy. I think there’s certainly a tremendous amount of pluses to it financially, and also for the fan bases.”
A decision on whether the schools will opt to renew the Arrowhead deal has yet to be announced, although KU senior associate athletic director Larry Keating said earlier this season that the schools likely would reach a decision on the matter around the time of this year’s game.