Notepad: UConn WBB injury updates; Napheesa Collier visits the practice

There could finally be a light at the end of the UConn women’s basketball injury tunnel. While none of the Azzi Fudds, Aubrey Griffin or Nika Mühl are back before Christmas – which is hardly a surprise since UConn’s last game before the holidays is Sunday against Louisville – there is some positive news. with regard to the two guards.

Fudd and Mühl, both of whom face a stress reaction in one foot, could be back on the pitch in early 2022 if they keep making good progress.

“The other two (Fudd and Mühl), according to our doctors, are doing very well,” Auriemma said. “This last break will be really good for them and after that I hope we can start to rework them.”

The outlook for Griffin is not so bright. The junior is yet to play this season due to a combination of a sprained ankle, leg problem and back problems, but he looked like he was set to make his debut at some point. given.

Ahead of the Seton Hall game on December 3, Auriemma expected Griffin to play for a few minutes, only to be sent off a day later. She also warmed up with the team ahead of Georgia Tech and UCLA games, but did not play.

While numerous injuries have kept Griffin out so far, his back currently prevents him from playing.

“It doesn’t look good right now,” Auriemma said of Griffin on her radio show Wednesday. “There has been muscle pain that just keeps getting worse and they try to fix it and try every different treatment. We fail to get to the bottom of it.

“Aubrey has had more tests the last few days,” the coach said on Friday. “She tried for a day or two and he just didn’t respond. So I can’t even give you what a timeline looks like when it comes to Aubrey.

Edwards also missed a day of training after fine-tuning something – Auriemma did not specify what – following a sharp fall in the win over UCLA. His status does not appear to be in doubt for Sunday’s game, however.

Necklace returns to Storrs

UConn had a special guest in practice on Friday: Napheesa Collier, former US double star and current Minnesota Lynx. The 2019 WNBA Rookie of the Year worked as a member of the practice squad which has proven to be a special moment for the current players.

“The players were quite impressed and quite amazed that someone could do some of the things that she did, given the condition she is in,” said Auriemma. “But I don’t think there was anyone who had more than incredible respect for Phees and I think the kids were pretty excited to see her.”

Collier and her fiance, Alex Bazzell, announced that she was pregnant at the end of November. Although her due date has not been made public, Collier told People Magazine that she learned the news after the 2021 WNBA season ended.

There is no shortage of excitement for the new baby.

“We saw her in the coaching hall, I panicked for a second,” said Evina Westbrook. “I was like ‘You have a bun in the oven.’ She says ‘Yes, I do.’ “

In fact, the stillborn child already has a scholarship offer from UConn waiting for him.

“Yes [Collier’s baby is] a third of the person, the player, the strength of character that was Pheesa, I will take her in my team at birth. I don’t even want to wait 18, ”Auriemma joked earlier this month.

Collier’s pregnancy, however, put the Huskies in a strange situation. Olivia Nelson-Ododa – one of only two players on the roster to have played with Collier in UConn – was unsure of how to deal with her.

“I was a little nervous. I was like ‘Should I box? I don’t know, ”the elder said with a laugh.

Naturally, Nelson-Ododa’s comment created an opportunity for Auriemma to get a hit in his team and he didn’t hesitate to take it.

“We are a very gentle group. We don’t necessarily break eggs when we play, so to speak, ”he said. “So I think Pheesa was safe with this group. “

Huskies coming home for the holidays

Last season, UConn voted as a team to stay on campus until Christmas instead of coming home to avoid a mandatory quarantine when they return to campus. But this year, the Huskies won’t have to make such a decision and will be allowed to return to their families after their clash with Louisville on Sunday.

“Last year has been such an unusual year, so when we have our breaks like this or just to come home and see the family, we certainly don’t want to take that for granted,” said Nelson-Ododa.

“We are really excited,” added Westbrook. “I think in particular of our international kids, as well as our young players, they can just go home, be with their families, get together, then come back and feel like, ‘Okay, you know, I have seen our people a bit, now it’s back to work.

Last year, Nelson-Ododa dressed up as Santa Claus while Westbrook went elf as the two woke their teammates up on Christmas Day. Although Nelson-Ododa has declared that she will no longer be Santa Claus, a tradition of team vacations will continue.

“I think one of the fun things was people always wondering, ‘Are we doing secret Santa Claus? “So I think they liked it when we did that last year,” Westbrook said. “We will do that when we get back, like at New Years’ time, so that we can still have a little something with the team.”

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