Udoka Azubuike Out Indefinitely After Ankle Injury Diagnosed as High Sprain

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorDecember 5, 2018

LAWRENCE, KANSAS - DECEMBER 01:  Udoka Azubuike #35 of the Kansas Jayhawks grabs a rebound under the basket during the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Allen Fieldhouse on December 01, 2018 in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Kansas Jayhawks junior center Udoka Azubuike suffered a "legitimate, very serious ankle sprain" and will be out a "while," according to head coach Bill Self.

Per Gary Bedore of the Kansas City Star, Self also said X-rays were negative and that he is looking at a return date prior to Christmas as a possibility but doesn't truly know at the moment.

Azubuike suffered the injury early on a block attempt in the first half of his team's 72-47 win over Wofford on Tuesday. He averaged 15.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game leading into the contest.

Losing Azubuike is tough for the Jayhawks, but the key is for him to get 100 percent and shake off any rust before the NCAA tournament. The Jayhawks are clear national championship contenders, but they'll need all hands to take down the likes of Gonzaga, Duke and other top programs they may see.

In the near future, KU could stay afloat. Looking ahead, the No. 2 Jayhawks have five nonconference games from December 8 through 29 before starting the Big 12 slate with a January 2 home matchup with the Oklahoma Sooners. 

Kansas' toughest matchups before the OU game figure to be a December 15 contest at home versus No. 21 Villanova and a road battle at No. 20 Arizona State. After the ASU game, the Jayhawks don't play another ranked team until they visit No. 9 Kentucky on January 26.

Until Azubuike gets back, we could also see KU play a lot of small ball. Of note, sophomore guard K.J. Lawson saw 17 minutes of action against Wofford despite playing more than 10 minutes in a game just once before Tuesday. Otherwise, KU still has Lagerald Vick and Dedric Lawson to carry the scoring load, with the latter player the Jayhawks' current rebounding leader.

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