Kansas Jayhawks junior center Udoka Azubuike will miss the remainder of the 2018-19 season in order to undergo surgery on his right hand, Kansas head coach Bill Self announced Sunday.
"Udoka had an MRI done this morning and the MRI revealed he tore the same ligament in his right hand that he tore in his left hand his freshman season (Dec. 2016)," Self said in the Jayhawks' official press release. "This occurred in practice on Friday and although the initial X-rays did not reveal the extent of the injury, the MRI did and it will require season-ending surgery."
Azubuike appeared in nine games, averaging 13.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. The Athletic's Seth Davis wondered whether his absence will exacerbate Kansas' struggles from the perimeter:
Now, the 6'9" Dedric Lawson is the tallest among Kansas' regular rotation players. Self may have to rely more on David McCormack, a 6'10" true freshman who's averaging 7.2 minutes per game. McCormack was the No. 5 center in the 2018 recruiting class, per 247Sports.
Either way, losing Azubuike further depletes a frontcourt that was also counting on the services of Silvio De Sousa. Self has held De Sousa out since the sophomore forward was connected to the FBI's trial into corruption in the NCAA.
This week was already bad enough for Kansas after it lost 77-60 to Iowa State on Saturday, bringing the team's record 12-2. Now, the Jayhawks' streak of 14 straight regular-season Big 12 titles could be in serious jeopardy.