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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hartley continues to work her way back

Standing on the sideline with a boot protecting her sprained left ankle was clearly not what Bria Hartley had in mind with UConn’s preseason opener a mere eight days away.When UConn’s All-American junior guard returned to campus with a sore ankle after helping the United States team win the FIBA 3x3 World Championships, she figured a little extra rest would ease any discomfort she was experiencing.

Before long she expressed her concerns to the UConn medical staff that her ankle wasn’t feeling right. First, they had her miss a week of practice and that time as a reluctant spectator has turned to two weeks. Now UConn coach Geno Auriemma put Hartley’s chances at playing in the Nov. 2 preseason game against Indiana (Pa.) as 50-50 when he met with the media following Thursday’s practice.

Now Hartley is hoping to be back at practice on Tuesday. Only time will tell if that is merely wishful thinking on her part.

Hartley originally thought her ankle would be healed sufficiently for her to be back practicing on Monday. However, after testing out the ankle during a session on the treadmill on Sunday, it was evident that simply was not the case.

Hartley had a cortisone shot on Tuesday and is optimistic with the progress her tender ankle is making.
“It is still a little bit better now,” Hartley said. “Hopefully it is all right. The doctor said it was healing well.”

Auriemma said that Hartley wasn’t exactly “forthcoming” with the extent of the pain she was in. Hartley, however, said she has been in contact with the UConn medical staff from the time she returned to campus.
“I was out there playing and I hurt it worse,” said Hartley, who took part in UConn’s first official practice on Oct. 13 but has not practiced since. “I came back too soon.

“I think it just kind of happened. The pain wasn't too bad when I was playing on it and then it just started to get worse. I mentioned it and said there was pain but I didn’t think it was enough to where I couldn't play. I sprained my ankle plenty of times and sometimes you have to be able to tough it out.”

Perhaps the only benefit of Hartley being sidelined is that it has allowed sophomore Brianna Banks and freshman Moriah Jefferson to see more time with the starting unit.

“It is definitely tough without Bria out there, her experience, her talent and her leadership,” Dolson said. “The guards have definitely stepped up. Caroline (Doty) and Kelly (Faris) are doing a great job of leading the other girls. Moriah and Bri have done a good job of growing and maturing these past couple of (weeks) because they know Bria is not there so they have to run the show.”

Hartley is understandably antsy to get back out on the basketball court but she knows she needs to take it slow when she is back doing drills.

"I know sometimes I can get out of control if I get too excited," Hartley said. "I have to make sure  I am under control, poised and going to listen to what Coach is saying, It is different to sitting on the sideline listening to what is going on and actually being out there. I know there is going to be a good amount of stuff that I missed.

"I love playing so it is kind of tough. At the same time I get excited when (her teammates) make a play and I try to help the freshmen and sophomores get better."

Recee' Caldwell, a highly-touted junior guard out of San Antonio, Tex., was not at UConn's practice on Thursday but she is expected to be in attendance when the Huskies practice on Friday.

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