LAWRENCE — By the time Kansas returned to Allen Fieldhouse for practice on Thursday, the day after Christmas, the young Jayhawks had enjoyed a full four days off for the holiday.
The Kansas City Star
For a group of freshmen going through the grind of a college basketball season for the first time, it was a much welcomed break. But while the opportunity to mentally recharge was nice, the Jayhawks really needed the extra time to get fully healthy.
Consider: KU coach Bill Self said sophomore forward Perry Ellis was fine and able to practice after suffering a bruised nerve in his neck against Georgetown last Saturday. In the moment, it was rather scary. Ellis, KUs second-leading scorer, suffered a blow to the head area, badly missed a free throw and walked off the court looking a little wobbly. But according to Self, it was the nerve issue that affected Ellis equilibrium, and he should be good to go when No. 16 Kansas faces unbeaten Toledo at 7 p.m. Monday at Allen Fieldhouse.
Hes fine from a health standpoint, Self said. He may be a little stiff, like hes got a little crick in his neck, but hes fine.
Sophomore wing Andrew White III also returned to practice after missing two games because of a hip-pointer injury. And freshman guard Wayne Selden, who has been plagued by an assortment of minor ailments, used the time get his body feeling better.
As a team, we love being around each other, Selden said. But our bodies probably needed a little break.
For Kansas, 8-3, the break came at the right time. With games against Toledo, 12-0, and No. 20 San Diego State looming before Big 12 play, Self is hoping the Jayhawks can finish off the nonconference slate with a couple of victories after a tough early schedule served up three losses.
If were able to play well the next two games, and of course theyre both going to be tough, I would think thats about the record we should have going into conference play, Self said. Have we played great? No. Have we gotten better? Yes. But we still got a ways to go.