Jayhawks battered, but not broken

KU defeated the Flames on Friday night, but it was not without a scary moment. All-America candidate Wayne Simien missed the final minutes of the first half after aggravating his strained groin and laying motionless on the court for what seemed like an excrutiatingly long period of time.

Simien returned for the second half and finished the game with 13 points and nine rebounds. It is unknown if he will play Sunday's game with Pacific.

"He's sore and he couldn't play today," said Self on Saturday. "But I imagine that by tomorrow, he'll be able to mentally convince himself he's ready to go."

Smart money says Simien will be on that court, as will the rest of the battered and bruised Jayhawks.

"The biggest reason we struggle with short rest is health, not depth. When we lost to Nevada, we came off playing the night before. Against Texas last week, we didn't respond like a fresh team," cited Self.

"It's a unique year. We have guys that have bodies of 35-year old men. I think 48 hours is enough time, but back-to-back games are tough."

Which means the Jayhawks have to be even tougher.

"After the season is over, J.R. will be out of basketball for five or six weeks. We spot practice him now, but he'll have to shut it down for a while. He won't hurt himself more by playing, but he needs time to heal," said Self.

Healing will come after the season ends. All of the Kansas players are willing to endure the pain - hopefully for a few more weeks. Injuries are not limited to Simien and Giddens, with David Padgett and Keith Langford as the most obvious examples of playing through pain.

"(J.R.) grown up dreaming of this moment and there is no way to keep him out of playing."

Ditto for the entire team. They will be out there playing - tweaked ankles, soreness, aching backs, stress fractures, pulled muscles and all. They wouldn't have it any other way.

(AP Photos)

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