KU’s Kevin McCullar, Bobby Pettiford got dinged up vs. K-State. But there’s good news

Darron Cummings/AP

Kansas starting guard Kevin McCullar and reserve guard Bobby Pettiford, who both suffered injuries in Tuesday’s home victory over Kansas State, will likely be able to play in Saturday’s game at Iowa State, coach Bill Self said Thursday.

Pettiford tweaked his hamstring, while McCullar hurt his right index finger in a 90-78 decision over the Wildcats — a victory that halted KU’s three-game losing streak in Big 12 play and moved the Jayhawks (18-4, 6-3) into a tie with Kansas State (18-4, 6-3), TCU (17-5, 6-3) and Iowa State (15-6, 6-3) in the league standings.

Those four teams are a game behind Texas (18-4, 7-2) and a game ahead of Baylor (16-6, 5-4).

“We didn’t practice yesterday. We watched tape. Bobby was fine, the same with Kevin,” Self reported. Pettiford has had hamstring problems previously this season. “I think they’ll both be available for Saturday (11 a.m. tip, Hilton Coliseum, Ames, Iowa) even though I don’t think either will practice today. We are thinking they’ll both be available if nothing changes.”

Asked about McCullar not being available to practice Thursday, Self said: “It (his finger) hurts and if you catch it and shoot it and dribble it with your right hand that may limit it a bit.”

Self stressed that McCullar’s finger “is not broken.”

Freshman reserve wing MJ Rice, who was unavailable for the K-State game, has been day-to-day for some time now because of back spasms.

“MJ couldn’t go the other night. He told me at halftime (of the K-State game) he couldn’t go,” Self said. “He does have spasms . I didn’t get him in the first half (vs. KSU). That probably led to more tightness. Hopefully he can be a piece we have moving forward we can use.”

Self was asked at his pre-Iowa State game media session Thursday if there was any medical procedure planned for Rice after the season.

“Not to my knowledge no,” Self said.

Asked if “time” would help heal Rice’s back, Self said: “I don’t know if time actually affects spasms, but I don’t know exactly. He gets treatment every day, but I just don’t know if that’s something that can get better with rest. I assume it probably can. Obviously we’re not going to rest him now, at least in practice.”

Reserve freshman forward Zuby Ejiofor, who hurt his left foot in KU’s 77-68 win over Kentucky on Saturday, and did not play against K-State, is expected to miss additional time.

“It’s not quite to the point where it’s day-to-day but we were hopeful it was a two-to-three-week thing after he got hurt and we are still hopeful that’s the case,” Self said. “I think it’ll probably be a couple more weeks.”

Senior forward Cam Martin (shoulder) and freshman guard Kyle Cuffe (knee), who have played 10 minutes and six minutes respectively all season, are not expected to be available anytime soon.

“Neither one is 100%. I don’t know if either one is close to 100%,” Self said. “I think they are both kind of at that 80% range but the last 20 will be the hardest to get better. I can’t see either one of them impacting us moving forward in a big way at all.”

Asked about how two of his teammates — Rice and Martin — are mentally coping with their injuries, sophomore forward Zach Clemence said: “I think they are doing great. We are all talking to them. It’s one big family. Things pop up unexpected, out of nowhere. You’ve got to get through those speed bumps. You have to slow down, get over them and keep going.”