Arizona coach Sean Miller said Tuesday he would probably pursue a hardship waiver that would allow junior forward Kevin Parrom to play for the Wildcats until 2013-14.
Parrom, who was lost for the season Saturday when he broke his right foot against Washington, was also out the first two games this season while recovering from a gunshot wound and missed 14 games as a freshman with stress fractures in his left foot.
"When you consider what he missed in total as a freshman and everything that happened this year … he could be a candidate for that fifth year," Miller said.
That future is hardly guaranteed. Parrom has already played 20 games this season, well over the 30 percent (11 games) limit that the NCAA allows for traditional medical hardship waivers.
Instead, UA associate AD Bill Morgan said another waiver may be sought, and the result won't be known until at least this spring.
"There's all kinds of waivers and different things we can look at," Morgan said. "I'm not sure how successful we'll be, but that depends on the circumstances of the case."
In the more immediate future, the Wildcats must figure out how to cope without their versatile key reserve wing, who had nearly returned to the level of play he reached as a sophomore last season.
Without Parrom, Miller said he would play Angelo Chol and Kyryl Natyazhko more often at center, which will allow starting center Jesse Perry to also play at power forward. Parrom had been playing both forward spots, sometimes shifting to power forward when Solomon Hill rested.
"It's really our whole team" that must help, Miller said. "It falls on our frontcourt players, Angelo and Kyryl. It's going to give both of those guys a bigger opportunity. And our guards, each one of those guys will be counted on to do more."
Senior guard Kyle Fogg could feel slightly more pressure to produce, but if Chol and Natyazhko can help, they could help shift Perry and Hill back to forwards and allow Fogg to play his natural shooting guard position at times.
"In a sense, we'd have that same lineup as with Kev in there," Fogg said. "It hurts that he's gone, but I'm not worried. I think guys will take the opportunity to step up."
Hill said he's hoping Chol and Natyazhko in particular will do so, and Arizona will soon find out during a potentially difficult weekend at California and Stanford.
"We really need them more than ever," Hill said. "They should see this as an opportunity to work hard. They should probably spend a little more time in the gym than they normally would have. The minutes are going to be there. This first road trip is going to be a big test for us."
Miller has played both Chol and Natyazhko less in conference games this season - Chol averages 8.2 minutes in Pac-12 play, and Natyazhko has not played at all in three games. But Miller said Chol has had "good moments" and has a bright future.
"He'll be better as time moves on," Miller said. "But when you lose Kevin, just do the math. Someone's going to have to play a bigger role."
At the same time, Miller said the Wildcats have "really played without Kevin" for all but the past 3 1/2 games - Parrom played well at Utah and Colorado, then at home against Washington State before he was hurt at the end of the first half against Washington.
"Although he was practicing and playing, he didn't contribute what he was capable of," Miller said. "So it's his recent play that we'll miss, but we've really been that team that's played without him for an entire year. Where we'll really miss him is in what he could have been over this next six weeks.
"That's when we'll miss him the most."
• The tipoff time for Arizona's Feb. 9 game against Colorado has been set for 7 p.m. at McKale Center. It will be carried on ESPN or ESPN2, with an announcement expected closer to the game.
• Who: Arizona at California
• When: 9 p.m. Thursday
• TV: FSAZ