Jayhawks' Rush opts to have surgery on torn ACL

Updated: May 29, 2007, 3:39 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas guard Brandon Rush, who withdrew last week from the NBA draft, will undergo surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee.

Brandon Rush
There's no way to know how long it will take him to get back. A lot will depend on how hard he works at rehab.

Kansas coach Bill Self, on Brandon Rush (above)

Kansas coach Bill Self said Rush will have surgery either later this week or next week. The Jayhawks' leading scorer injured his right knee in a pickup game last week when he landed awkwardly.

"There's no way to know how long it will take him to get back," Self told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "A lot will depend on how hard he works at rehab."

Rush averaged 13.8 points and helped the Jayhawks win a second straight Big 12 championship.

Self is hopeful Rush will be back sooner rather than later.

"The surgery is so much more advanced than it was just a few years ago," Self said. "If things go well, he may not miss any games at all. There's no way to know."

Rush was hurt in a way that was strikingly reminiscent of the knee injury sustained by his older brother, JaRon Rush, who played for UCLA.

When Rush withdrew from the draft, he stated the injury was not a decisive factor. He did not hire an agent, so his eligibility was not compromised for a return in his junior season.

"We did not announce the nature of the injury last week per Brandon's request," Self said. "Friday was an emotional day for Brandon as he had worked very hard in preparation for the NBA pre-draft camp. By law, we cannot comment on an injury without a player's consent."

Kansas already has lost sophomore Julian Wright to the draft from last year's 33-5 team. Wright declared and decided to sign with an agent, meaning he can't return to school.

Rush was projected to be a first-round pick in the June draft and had planned to play in the Orlando pre-draft camp, which begins Tuesday night at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex.

Kansas officials do not expect Rush to be around for his senior season in 2008-09. Self and his staff are recruiting with the expectation that he will enter the draft after his junior season.

Rush declared for the draft out of high school under the old NBA draft rules. He then declared again this spring under rules governing college underclassmen. Rush cannot declare for the draft again and still retain his eligibility.

Self said he would be careful in working his star guard back into action.

"We're not going to bring him back too soon," he said. "It will take a while after the surgery before he feels like he's ready to cut loose. He may miss some practice time, but we're hoping he may not miss any of the season."

In Rush's absence, the Jayhawks will rely even more on their three guards -- Sherron Collins, Russell Robinson and Mario Chalmers. Early on, the Jayhawks could go with a three-guard look to complement a loaded frontcourt of Darrell Arthur, Sasha Kaun, Darnell Jackson and newcomer Cole Aldrich.

Information from ESPN.com senior writer Andy Katz and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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