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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Asjha Jones still idle

When former UConn star Asjha Jones decided to leave her UMMC Ekaterinburg team shortly before Christmas, her hope was that the injured Achilles tendon injury would heal without the assistance of surgery.

Waiting for a couple months upon returning home, Jones and the Connecticut Sun medical staff finally scheduled a surgery. The result is that Jones is still a reluctant spectator as the WNBA franchise opened training camp on Monday.

Jones should miss at least the first half of training camp. She may be back in time to play in the final exhibition game at New York on May 11. Even if she has to skip all three preseason games, Jones is hoping she will be ready to go for the May 15 regular-season opener against Chicago.

"We waited," Jones said. "We didn't do it right away to see if it would heal on its own and it didn't. It didn't progress far enough, we waited as long as we could and it (the surgery) had to happen."

The injury forced Jones to miss the final 11 games of the season, the first time she was sidelined for a prolonged period during her WNBA career. After winning two of the first three games without Jones, the Sun predictably struggled without the All-Star forward to carry the offensive load. The Sun lost five straight games all by at least 10 points and missed the playoffs for the first time since relocating from Orlando before the 2003 season.

"It hard to look back on that," Jones said. "It drives you forward. Even little things, where to sit on the bench do you want to sit in the middle of the team, do you want to sit by the coaches? It is hard to figure all of that stuff out. You want to help but you can't. You have KG (Kerri Gardin) playing the 4 (power forward) and that is not where she belongs. I felt guilty because now they are being put in a position where they shouldn't be."

With Jones out of action and the trio of Tan White, Anete Jekabsone-Zogota and Sandrine Gruda expected to be late arrivals, third-year forwad Gardin is the only person currently practicing with the team who has appeared in a game with the Sun. Lindsay Whalen is now in Minnesota after a trade which netted Connecticut former UConn teammates Renee Montgomery and Tina Charles. Amber Holt and Chante Black were traded to Tulsa (formerly Detroit), Tamika Whitmore was released while Erin Phillips and Kiesha Brown were not re-signed.

Former Sacramento Monarchs teammates Kara Lawson and DeMya Walker are among the new additions, joining Montgomery, Charles and fellow 2010 WNBA draftees Kelsey Griffin and Allison Hightower on a new-look Connecticut squad. Five training camp invitees including former Sacred Heart University star Kaitlin Sowinski were brought in. A sixth player, former Florida State guard Alicia Gladden, was not able to make it so a replacement for her is expected to be named shortly.

White, one of many travelers impacted by volcano in Iceland, could arrive by Wednesday according to Connecticut Sun coach Mike Thibault. Jekabsone-Zogota and Gruda are on opposite teams playing for Spartak Moscow Region and UMMC Ekaterinburg in the best of five Russian championship series. Jekabsone-Zogota could be in camp by the first week of May while Gruda is expected to miss at least the first five games before arriving in early June.

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