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KU’s McLemore day-to-day with ankle sprain

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, at 7:56 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, at 8:31 p.m.

— Kansas coach Bill Self is hopeful that freshman guard Ben McLemore will be out just a “couple days” after he suffered a grade-1 right-ankle sprain on Monday in the final minutes of a victory over Baylor.

Self said Tuesday that McLemore had some soreness in the ankle, but his status remained day to day. For now, all signs point to him being available on Saturday when the Jayhawks (15-1, 3-0 Big 12) play at Texas, 8-8. The Jayhawks, who played their fourth game in eight days on Monday, weren’t scheduled to practice on Tuesday.

It’s certainly hopeful news for Kansas and McLemore, who suffered through a frightening scene as the Jayhawks dismantled Baylor in a Big Monday matchup.

McLemore rolled his ankle with 2:44 left in Monday’s 61-44 victory. According to Self, McLemore said he heard a pop, and his initial reaction suggested that the injury was more serious than it turned out to be. McLemore clutched at his ankle and writhed in pain before being helped off the floor by KU’s training staff.

“I think he more so panicked more than anything,” KU senior Elijah Johnson said. “That has a lot to do with it a lot of times. I think he’s all right. Ben will bounce back.”

Even if McLemore isn’t 100 percent on Saturday, KU would still likely be considerable favorites against Texas. With standout guard Myck Kabongo still serving an NCAA suspension, the Longhorns have started the Big 12 season 0-3 with losses at Baylor, at home to West Virginia and at Iowa State.

A grade-1 sprain is the least severe — it includes mild damage to the ankle ligaments without major damage to the joint. Before the ankle twist, McLemore was in the midst of another standout performance in a breakout freshman season. He finished with a team-high 17 points, increasing his season average to 16.4 points per game. He’s also shooting 50 percent from the field and 43.5 from three-point range.

“He tries to do everything right,” Johnson said. “And I say that all the time, but I don’t feel like he deserves to be hurt right now, or be cheated out of playing.”

Self to Oklahoma Hall —Closing in on 500 victories for his career, Self picked up another career honor on Tuesday, learning that he’d been selected to the 2013 class of the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.

Self, a native of Edmond, Okla., played at Oklahoma State before beginning his head coaching career at Oral Roberts in Tulsa.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been inducted into anything like that. It’s a great honor,” Self said. “I’m really proud of my state and respect all the people in different sports and different areas that have contributed to the rich sports history of Oklahoma.”

Self will be inducted August 5, 2013, at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, joining a seven-person class that includes Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett and Olympic gold medalist Nadia Comaneci.

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