Kansas Senior Wayne Simien Undergoes Surgery on Thumb

Dec. 20, 2004

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas senior Wayne Simien underwent surgery Monday evening to repair a ligament which pulled away from the bone in the left thumb and will miss four to six weeks, head coach Bill Self announced Monday.

Simien injured his thumb in the second half of Kansas’ 64-60 win against South Carolina on Dec. 18. Self said doctors informed him x-rays indicated there was no break but further testing showed damage to a ligament.

“We all feel for Wayne but after visiting with Wayne, his family and all the doctors who have seen him, I strongly encouraged Wayne to go through the procedure,” Self said. “We believe having Wayne at 100 percent the final two months of the season is far better than having him 60 to 70 percent.

“Though this is unfortunate, we still have a solid group of seniors who can lead us through this. We also will have to have some other players step up while Wayne is out.”

With 13:45 remaining, the Leavenworth, Kan., forward was hacked while shooting by a South Carolina player. Simien left the floor and the thumb was taped. He returned to finish with 20 points and 11 rebounds to notch his Big 12-leading sixth double-double of the season. His dunk at 1:41 mark gave KU the lead for good in the game.

Simien leads the Big 12 in rebounding at 12 boards per game. The Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year and Wooden and Naismith awards selection is averaging a team-high 17.4 points for the second-ranked Jayhawks.

This will mark the fourth straight season Simien will have to sit out at least one game due to injuries. He missed the first five games his freshman season, 22 his sophomore year and one last season due to injuries.