One Kansas freshman close to returning, another dealing with back issue

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Saturday marks the Big 12 home opener for No. 12 Kansas, hosting Texas Tech.

It could also mean the return of freshman point guard Devonte Graham, who has missed the last six games with a sprained toe. Graham participated in practice on Friday, but his status for Saturday remains uncertain, according to Kansas head coach Bill Self.

“I wouldn’t bank on it,” Self told Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star. “I would still say, right now, he’s probably doubtful, but that may could become questionable. But I don’t think it’s probable.”

Graham was averaging 5.9 points and 1.0 assists per game. He hasn’t played since Dec. 10 against Georgetown. In his absence, starting point guard Frank Mason is logging more than 35 minutes a night.

The Kansas City Star is also reporting that freshman forward Cliff Alexander has been dealing with a back problem this week. The 6-foot-8 forward still managed to play 20 minutes, scoring four points and dishing four assists in KU’s 56-55 win over Baylor on Wednesday night.

“He’s a tough kid and his back locked up on him Tuesday,” Self told reporters. “He couldn’t practice; he tried to get out there and go, and then it was locked up the whole day.

“So we were lucky that we got the minutes we go out of him. He wasn’t effective at all in the game, in large part because of his back. (But) just his presence and his size definitely helped us win the game.”

The Jayhawks and Red Raiders meet at 3 p.m. inside Allen Fieldhouse.