In certainly the most disappointing development on this otherwise celebratory day at the Final Four, Kansas senior Rodrick Stewart of Seattle (Rainier Beach H.S.) broke his kneecap in a dunking session near the end of practice today at the Alamodome.
Coach Bill Self said that Stewart will have surgery once he gets back to Kansas.
And while he seemed compassionate for what Stewart must be going through physically and mentally, Self also sounded a little annoyed that Stewart put himself in that position.
"He said he slipped on a wet spot," Self said. "I told our freshmen they could go dunk. Rodrick jumps out there, goes and tires to dunk, which I'm disappointed that we ... we do that every tournament, but I'm disappointed, certainly hurt for him. Guys practice their whole life to get to participate in the Final Four. That's been taken away from him. But I don't know exactly how it will affect the other guys, other than the fact that it was a subdued locker room when I told them what the injury was and how bad it was -- because the doctor said he caught a break in that it could have been worse with the type of injury he just had, but the X-ray shows that he'll heal up fine. It's gonna be a process for him."
Stewart's teammates confirmed their concerns:
Sherron Collins: "I think it will have some impact. Rod worked so hard to get to this point. This is his senior year. He's been through a lot of stuff his whole career, especially this year. It sucks for him to go out like this, not even be able to participate in the Final Four."
Darrell Arthur: It's tough for us. I really didn't see what happened. They just informed me on the little bit that happened. It's going to be tough for us. We're just going to try to surround him with our love and try to support him the whole way."
Mario Chalmers: Rod worked so hard to get to this point. It's hard for him not to be able to participate. He knows we're going to go out there and participate. He knows we got his back."
Here's today's story from the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World & News.
And here's the original report sent out by the Associated Press:
SAN ANTONIO—Kansas reserve guard Rodrick Stewart fractured his right kneecap Friday during the Jayhawks' open practice at the Alamodome.
Kansas coach Bill Self confirmed the injury, saying Stewart slipped on a "wet spot" on the court and will require surgery.
Stewart crumpled to the court after leaping to attempt a dunk near the end of 50-minute workout. As Stewart pounded the court, Self and trainers rushed to his side.
Stewart's leg was wrapped in a brace, and the festive crowd grew quiet as he was taken off the court on a golf cart.
Stewart, a 6-4 senior from Seattle, provides depth off the bench, averaging 2.8 points and 11.6 minutes per game.