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KU in a familiar situation: Without Udoka Azubuike

Self says Doke the victim, not the team
Posted: 7:50 PM, Jan 07, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-07 20:51:27-05

LAWRENCE, Kan. — And KU fans thought Saturday's 17-point loss to Iowa State was bad. Well, it paled in comparison to Sunday's loss ... off the court.

Big man Udoka Azubuike, who was held out of the Iowa State game, is done for the season after the team revealed he'll need surgery on his right hand after an injury in practice.

"We should not feel bad for us. We should feel bad for him. If you look at it, the kid hasn't played in very many games since he's been here," said KU Head Coach Bill Self.

It's true, "Doke" played only 11 games as a freshman. His sophomore year, last season, Azubuike missed the entire Big 12 Tournament and played sparingly in the Jayhawks' run to the Final Four. And now as a junior, Udoka is done after just nine games.

"It's a crushing blow to him. I think he has options," said Self. "We know he's going to heal based on his other hand."

That's the odd thing. Azubuike has already suffered this injury, but in his left hand two years ago. Both times he tore the same ligament.

Doke is a junior and could leave for the NBA after the season, but he's young, only 19-years-old.

"There is nothing with his biological basketball clock is ticking that he needs to hurry up. That is a positive thought. He will have options," said Self.

Self also said the Jayhawks will look different without Azubuike in the lineup but that they have had experience with it.

Kansas next hosts TCU Wednesday at 8 p.m.