Injury Bug Bit Harder Than KU Fans Knew

As much as KU fans had heard about the Jayhawks' myriad injuries the last two weeks, coach Bill Self made it sound even worse Tuesday at the final news conference of the 2003-04 season.

Sure, everyone had heard that Wayne Simien's groin was bothering him, Keith Langford's knee was vermicelli, David Padgett wasn't 100%, and J.R. Giddens was wearing an ankle boot everywhere he went.

But on Tuesday, Self talked about the hard part: surgery, healing, rehab. And when it came to injuries, there were a few surprise names Tuesday.

Think Wayne Simien's injury was just a simple groin pull? Guess again.

"Wayne will be shut down for four to five weeks where it'll be strictly rehab, no basketball," Self said. "His groin problem has gotten into his abs, so when you hear about the bad groin pulls, they're the groin pulls that get into your stomach muscles. So his is certainly severe in that regard."

Keith Langford has barely had time to unpack from St. Louis and he's already slated for surgery. Self said, "The rehab time on [Keith's] surgery could be anywhere between one to three months, depending on what they find when they get in there. We're hopeful it'll be the shorter end of it. Keith's knee is such that hopefully they'll find that the healing has already started to occur. "

J.R. Giddens' ankle?

"He's re-injured a stress fracture. He had surgery last year to have the pin put in it. Thank goodness we did that or he would not have made it through the season," Self reported.

"He'll be re-evaluated this week by x-ray and MRI and we'll be determine whether or not surgery is required, which we do not think it is. He could have a cast for up to six or eight weeks."

But the injury list went beyond the usual suspects.

Self told reporters, "Bryant Nash has a stress fracture and he'll need a cast also for approximately six to eight weeks. Jeff Graves will need surgery to repair torn cartilage in his knee. That will take place this week or next week."

So much for coach-speak. "When I said all season long that we're beat up, we were a beat-up team," Self insisted.

However, he was also quick to praise the Jayhawks for their toughness and especially for their play the last month of the season.

"The thing that amazes me is that these guys performed at a high level without practicing," he said.

"Keith was totally shut out of practice. Wayne was basically shut down from practice for the most part except for the day before games. And J.R.'s been hurt for the last month-and-a-half."

So it sounds like things might be a little slow around the KU basketball office – not to mention on Naismith Court at Allen Field House – the next two months. Self agrees.

"It's been a tough go. We're looking at hopefully in the next six weeks having a healthy team. But these guys have got a ways to go before we get to that point." Top Stories