The injury count is hard for Bruce Weber to keep up with.
Ask the Kansas State basketball coach to list the number of players who have been held out of at least one preseason practice and he lists half the roster.
Senior guard Will Spradling couldn’t take part in the Madness in Manhattan scrimmage with a tweaked ankle, freshmen Jack Karapetyan and Nigel Johnson have faced foot issues, and key contributors Shane Southwell, Nino Williams and Thomas Gipson have all dealt with nagging ailments.
That could force Weber to get creative with lineups during the Wildcats’ lone exhibition game against Pittsburg State at 8 p.m. on Friday at Bramlage Coliseum. K-State’s four eligible freshmen, particularly guard Marcus Foster, should see extended minutes.
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“We have had so many injuries,” Weber said. “Will was out for a while. Shane has been out. Nino is out. Thomas Gipson is out, he and is day to day. It has been a whole bunch of things. It’s a lot like the song, ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.’ We have had them all. That is, I guess, part of the grind of practice.”
Weber is hopeful K-State will be near full strength for the team’s Nov. 8 debut, and he is optimistic he will have a full lineup for the season opener against Northern Colorado next week.
But odds are against at least Gipson, a junior forward, seeing the floor Friday. Though he is healthy enough to play, he is expected to sit as a precautionary measure to allow him to better prepare for the season opener. Williams, a junior forward, may also be a game-time decision.
“We will have to wait and see,” Weber said.
Teams often deal with mounting injuries at the end of a season rather than the start.
Southwell, a senior, admits they have made it difficult to get through practices at times.
“That is a thing you have to get through,” Southwell said. “It is a sign of adversity and something you just have to get through early. Teams go through it. Every team goes through it. Championship teams go through it. You’ve just got to get over it. Sadly enough, it happened to us late last year instead of early. Maybe that is a blessing in disguise.”