The Arizona Wildcats may stick to a tidy seven-man playing rotation for at least another week, with backup guard Jordin Mayes continuing to nurse what was found to be a stress reaction in his left foot.
Mayes injured his left foot against California on Thursday, and UA coach Sean Miller initially feared Mayes had re-broken the foot he had surgically repaired last June. But Mayes had X-rays in Berkeley, Calif., and then again upon his return to Tucson, that confirmed there was no fracture.
Miller said it is "improbable" but not impossible that Mayes would play this weekend, and that the sophomore is likely to return sometime between next week and the March 7-10 Pac-12 tournament.
"He doesn't have any swelling at this point, which is a great sign," Miller said. "The X-ray is negative, which is great news. His surgery (work) is 100 percent intact, which is even better news. But he did sustain an injury, so it's just a matter of how long does it take. It's like a sprained ankle - none of us really know how long it will take."
Mayes remains in a boot cast, and Miller said the guard needs "rest and optimism," since his pain level will dictate when he returns. Once the pain subsides, Mayes will be re-evaluated, and he may then return to practices and games.
Mayes was not available for comment during UA's weekly news conference, but Miller said Mayes was relieved his foot was not broken.
"When you go through what he did, you always go through a worst-case scenario," Miller said, "and I believe we all did, because it was the same foot and really around the same area."
Without Mayes and Kevin Parrom, who had virtually the same surgery Friday that Mayes had in June, the Cats used just seven players against Stanford on Saturday.
Beyond its seven-man rotation, UA has only two remaining healthy scholarship players - centers Kyryl Natyazhko and Alex Jacobson - and Miller indicated the good minutes he received from freshman forward Angelo Chol inside negated a need for anyone else.
Chol had 10 points, five rebounds and six blocks over the two games last weekend, averaging 18.0 minutes a game after playing just 8.2 minutes over UA's first nine conference games.
"We've given Angelo more of an opportunity, and he's ready for it," Miller said.
Miller said Chol has learned to better time his efforts to block shots, and the urgency Chol suddenly felt in last weekend's Bay Area sweep also helped.
Chol said he knew that without Parrom and Mayes around, he had to make the most of his time.
"I've always been a little frustrated that I wasn't contributing," Chol said. "I felt I should do my part."
As the Bay Area games went on, Chol was able to motivate himself, too, showcasing some demonstrative dunks and blocks.
"The more emotion I have, the better I play," Chol said.
While Chol's emergence means UA can downsize its lineup somewhat, moving Jesse Perry to power forward and Solomon Hill to small forward at times, the Wildcats still have to rely on freshman Nick Johnson to back up at point guard without Mayes. Miller said Kyle Fogg can be an emergency third point guard, too.
Johnson first played the point at Florida, when Josiah Turner was suspended, and said he's gradually become more comfortable there while continuing to start at shooting guard.
Johnson averaged 27.0 minutes entering the Stanford game in both conference and nonconference games but logged 33 minutes against the Cardinal.
"It's been pretty good," Johnson said. "I always like being out on the floor more. With Kev and Mayes out, it's definitely a break to our team but guys have to step up."
Guard Brendon Lavender averaged 17.5 minutes off the bench last week. If foul trouble warrants it, Miller said he might consider inserting guard Dondre Wise or forward Max Wiepking for a "brief period of time" this weekend. Wise and Wiepking are walk-ons.
• Miller said the "biggest mismatch" in Thursday's game with Colorado is the fact the Buffaloes are shooting 74 percent from the free-throw line, and UA is at 65percent in conference games. "Our first two years at Arizona, we've been very good from the foul line, and that's one of the reasons this season doesn't feel right," Miller said.
• Former Wildcat standout Richard Jefferson will be inducted into the Pac-12 Hall of Honor during the Pac-12 tournament along with 11 others, the conference announced Tuesday.
Others to be inducted: Kurt Nimphius (Arizona State), Lamond Murray (Cal), Burdette Haldorson (Colorado), Jim Barnett (Oregon), A.C. Green (Oregon State), George Selleck (Stanford), Ed O'Bannon (UCLA), Sam Barry (USC), Arnie Ferrin (Utah), George Irvine (Washington) and Steve Puidokas (Washington State).
• Miller said he is "optimistic" UA signees Brandon Ashley and Grant Jerrett will make the McDonald's All-American rosters when they are announced Thursday. Center Kaleb Tarczewski is not eligible because he's a fifth-year senior.
• What: Colorado at Arizona
• When: 7 p.m. Thursday
• TV: ESPN
• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM, 990-AM (Spanish)