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Kansas Forward Breaks Bone

December 27, 1997

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Kansas forward Raef Lafrentz broke a bone in his right index finger during practice Friday and is expected to miss at least six weeks.

The injury is a major blow to the second-ranked Jayhawks (14-1), who are in Hawaii for the eight-team Rainbow Classic.

LaFrentz, a 6-foot-11 senior projected by some to be the No. 1 overall pick in next June’s NBA draft, is averaging 21.2 points and 11.4 rebounds per game.

``Raef went up for a shot inside,″ Kansas coach Roy Williams told the Kansas City Star. ``Eric (Chenowith) reached across and fouled him. It was a clean play, but he came down hard on (LaFrentz’s) right hand. Raef walked off the court, holding his hand. I knew he was hurt because he doesn’t do that.″

An orthopedic surgeon diagnosed the injury as a break between the knuckle and the tip of the right index finger.

``Right now we’re not going to send Raef back early,″ Williams said. ``The finger is in a cast. They don’t anticipate any surgery. Everything looks like it’s in alignment.″

Missing six weeks would mean LaFrentz would be sidelined for 13 games _ three in the Rainbow Classic and 10 against Big 12 opponents _ before coming back for the Feb. 8 game against Missouri.

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