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Knee surgery will sideline KU's Thomas Robinson

Kansas sophomore forward Thomas Robinson suffered a slight meniscus tear in his right knee during KU's victory over Missouri on Monday night and had surgery to repair the injury on Friday.

KU coach Bill Self said that Robinson would miss approximately two weeks while recovering from the surgery "depending on how progress goes."

Self thinks the injury occurred when Robinson fell awkwardly after a two-handed dunk during the second half.

"I feel terrible for the kid," Self said. "Thomas has a great attitude. He's very disappointed but has been strong throughout this. We're disappointed for him for a lot of reasons. One is he has been playing so well as of late. We would rather have him healthy and in rhythm going into the postseason than waiting and doing the surgery later on."

Self said that Robinson practiced Thursday and could have played against Iowa State today and Kansas State on Monday. But Robinson and Self agreed he should have surgery as soon as possible.

"If it takes three weeks on the long end," Self said, "we'd still have him back in rhythm for the Big 12 tournament."

The Big 12 tournament in Kansas City is four weeks away, and the NCAA Tournament's opening weekend is five weeks out. The recovery time for a slight meniscus tear varies from case to case, and certainly, the most important thing for KU is that Robinson has the best chance to be back in game shape by the NCAA Tournament.

The meniscus is made up of cartilage that provides cushion between the femur and tibia in the knee. In an arthroscopic meniscus repair surgery, only the torn cartilage is removed. The recovery time depends on how big the tear is and how quickly the remaining tissue heals.

Last April, Portland Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy had surgery on a slightly torn meniscus and returned to game action eight days later during a first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns.

But proper recovery time is determined on a knee-by-knee basis.

In Robinson's absence, however long it turns out to be, Self said that he'll have to turn to 7-foot sophomore center Jeff Withey when the Jayhawks need size off the bench.

"When we go big, we have another guy to go big with off the bench," Self said.

Robinson was averaging 8.9 points and 6.4 rebounds in just 15.4 minutes a game. He missed the Colorado game on Jan. 25 while tending to funeral preparations for his mother, Lisa, who died suddenly on Jan. 21. In the four games since returning, Robinson has averaged 12.8 points per game.

Selby doubtful — Self said that KU freshman guard Josh Selby, who missed the last two games with a stress reaction in his right foot, is unlikely to play today after practicing Friday in a limited fashion. Self had said Thursday that Selby was likely to play.

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