Kansas big man Udoka Azubuike is done for the rest of the season due to a torn ligament in his right hand.
The 7-foot, 280-pound junior was averaging 13.4 points and 6.8 rebounds in nine games this season, and more importantly, the Jayhawks (12-2) have won all nine games in which the much-improved Azubuike had played.
“This occurred in practice on Friday (Jan. 4) and although the initial x-rays did not reveal the extent of the injury, the MRI did and it will require season-ending surgery,” Kansas coach Bill Self said in a statement. “The surgery date will be set early this week. The doctors expect a complete recovery and Udoka will be able to assume full basketball activities at some point this summer.”
Azubuike, who also missed four games in December due to an ankle injury, gave Bill Self and Kansas a low-post presence to play alongside Dedric Lawson and also a big-time presence and rebounder on the defensive end.
The Jayhawks are also without another one of their top frontline players, Silvio De Sousa, who is being held out in the midst of an NCAA investigation.
Without Azubuike and De Sousa, expect Self to give more playing time to freshman big man David McCormack — who has logged double-digit minutes in four of the last five games. Kansas was once considered one of the deepest teams in the country, and now the Jayhawks are thin – especially on the frontline.