Will Kevin McCullar be able to play when BYU visits the Kansas Jayhawks Tuesday?

The University of Kansas men’s basketball team will be without senior guard Kevin McCullar for the fourth time in the last five games (and fifth time in eight outings) on Tuesday.

The Jayhawks again will play shorthanded in a 7 p.m. home contest against BYU.

“I don’t know about this week. He’s not going to play tomorrow. He definitely will not play tomorrow,” KU coach Bill Self said Monday at a news conference in advance of the Big 12 battle between No. 7-ranked Jayhawks (21-6, 9-5) and unranked Cougars (19-8, 7-7).

The 6-foot-7, 212-pound San Antonio native, who has been battling a bone bruise in his knee, has not officially been ruled out for Saturday’s game at Baylor.

Self said again Monday that he does not know if McCullar will return this season.

The 21st-year Jayhawks coach was asked if he’s considered holding out McCullar the last four games of the regular season and the Big 12 tournament, while shooting for a return in the NCAAs.

“We are looking at the big picture. That’s exactly what we are looking at,” Self said. “But the big picture, if you start playing him after the Big 12 tournament, he wouldn’t be worth a crap in the NCAA Tournament. So we need to get rhythm and find out who we are and play the style that you want to play in the NCAA Tournament, so that would take a week to 10 days, at least, to do that.

“I see him if he comes back … to be able to help us he’s going to need to have to be in full rhythm for at least that long (week to 10 days( that we could actually as someone (in media) said, ‘hit our stride.’’’

Self said McCullar “has kept a good attitude and stayed positive and all those things” during rehab.

In fact, he noted that McCullar, who turns 23 on March 15, “has kind of become an assistant coach.”

“I think he’s doing a good job helping the guys that don’t play as many minutes while they are not in the game,” the coach said, smiling. “At least he did the other day (during Saturday’s 86-67 win over Texas). I had to tell him to be quiet during one timeout.”

KU senior guard Nick Timberlake is set to start for the fourth time in five games Tuesday.

“We obviously all want Kevin to come back. He’s such a huge part of this team,” Timberlake said. “He’s put us in the position where we are at today.

“It’s ‘next man up’ mentality. This is maybe the fifth game we’ve played without Kevin so far. I feel everyone has stepped up bigger than what they normally are playing like when Kevin is here. That’s huge for us.”

Timberlake scored 13 points in Saturday’s rout of Texas. Jamari McDowell had five points, two assists and two steals, while fellow reserve Elmarko Jackson had four assists and Parker Braun two points and two blocks.