University of Kansas

Injury sidelines KU center Udoka Azubuike for season

Kansas freshman center Udoka Azubuike will miss the rest of the season after tearing ligaments in his left wrist at practice on Tuesday.
Kansas freshman center Udoka Azubuike will miss the rest of the season after tearing ligaments in his left wrist at practice on Tuesday. rsugg@kcstar.com

Kansas freshman center Udoka Azubuike will miss the remainder of the season after tearing ligaments in his left wrist at practice on Tuesday, coach Bill Self said Wednesday.

The wrist injury will require surgery, Self said.

“Surgery should take place in the next few weeks and doctors are confident he will make a full recovery and be full speed sometime this summer,” Self said.

“We all feel bad for Udoka. He has worked so hard and has put himself in a position to have a tremendous impact on this year’s squad. This is a blow to our team, but I know that we will rally around this and Udoka will work hard to ensure a full recovery.”

Azubuike has started the last six games for the Jayhawks, averaging averaged 5.0 points and 4.4 rebounds a game. The 7-foot, 260-pound native of Delta, Nigeria, leads KU with 18 blocked shots through 11 games.

KU will meet UNLV at 8 p.m. Thursday at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Self said Wednesday night that Landen Lucas would start in place of Azubuike.

“Definitely,” Self said. He indicated he did not wish to comment further at this time.

Lucas, a 6-10 senior from Portland, Ore., has averaged 5.9 points and 5.0 rebounds a game. Early in the season, he was limited by a foot injury as well as an oblique strain.

KU’s other big men are Carlton Bragg, a 6-10 sophomore averaging 7.7 points and 5.6 rebounds, who returned last game from a one-game suspension; Mitch Lightfoot, a 6-8 freshman who has scored 12 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in limited minutes this season; and Dwight Coleby, a 6-9 junior who has a total of 12 points with 18 rebounds in limited minutes.

Self recently said Coleby was still not 100 percent recovered from ACL surgery that had him on the sidelines during last year’s redshirt season.

Gary Bedore: 816-234-4068, @garybedore

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