Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sun going with nine

With Asjha Jones not able to play as she continues to recover from offseason surgery on her injured Achilles tendon and Sandrine Gruda not expected to report until early June, the Connecticut Sun will have nine players in uniform when it opens its season against Chicago Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Salary cap issues forced the Sun to cut both undrafted rookie free agents May Kotsopoulos and Judie Lomax. Connecticut coach Mike Thibault had hoped that he would be able to keep either Kotsopoulos or Lomax until Gruda reported. However, to remain in compliance with the salary cap, he had to cut both of them. If Jones continues to be out of the lineup, Connecticut could petition the WNBA for an additional roster spot until Gruda shows up.

"We could apply to the league because we’re at nine players for a hardship and you can pay them at a per game basis on a minimum salary," Thibault said. "We'll wait until after the weekend and see where we are health wise and see if I want to do that next week."

Thibault seems reluctant to pick up a player off the waiver wire since by the time they learned the Connecticut system, he would have to cut her.

Former Connecticut Sun guard Debbie Black was at practice today and is going to be at tomorrow's game. Always a favorite of the media during her tenure in Connecticut, Black held court with pretty much all the reporters at Friday's practice.

Jones is hoping she will be able to play in the second game of the season and could be aided by the fact that the Sun won't play again until May 21.

"That extra week is great," Jones said. "If it keeps going the way it is now, I think so. I am going for that. I don’t want to put it out there and then if it doesn’t happen, everybody is disappointed but it is good to have your short-term goals and long-term goals. The point is to be there down the road and not to rush back, keep everything in perspective and focus in. I realize I need to be there at the end, I wasn’t there at the end last year."

Jones worked with Connecticut's strength and conditioning coach Joanna Hopkins during practice. At times it looked like she was taking part in an NFL combine, running around a series of cones.

"It is limiting because there are a lot of things I am not capable of doing but I did a lot more running than I did in the past," Jones said. "The Achilles got tired yesterday and there was a lot more cutting, trying to get in for a layup and stuff."

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