Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

UConn playing it safe with injured guards

Not wanting minor aches and pains to turn into something worse led to UConn holding out guards Bria Hartley and Moriah Jefferson at Tuesday's practice.

Hartley, a junior All-American, first hurt her left ankle while helping the U.S. win the gold medal at the FIBA 3x3 World Championships in late August and when the pain did not subside, the decision was to shut down Hartley for another a week to give her ankle time to rest.

"The last game we played that night (on Aug. 25), I hurt it late in the (quarterfinal) game," Hartley said. "I came out right away and I played the next day and it was OK. It hurt a little bit but I had it taped. When I came back here, it was all bruised. I went to see Rosemary (Ragle, UConn's athletic trainer) and showed it to her. It seemed to be getting better at first. I still played on it and after a couple of weeks it started bothering me more. I talked to Rosemary again, I got it in a boot and got an MRI. There's nothing torn, there's just a lot of swelling and stuff and irritation of the ligament. I just sat out for a week or so just to give it some rest. I think the main thing is I didn't rest it and that was the main thing."

Hartley admitted that missing even one practice is tough for her to deal with.

"I am always the type of person that I always want to be doing something," Hartley said, "I am a really active person so sitting there is practice I just want to jump into a drill or something but I am still here and I know when my teammates are here working hard and we are down players it is hard. These drills all the running we have to do is really tiring. I am doing the best I can to encourage them and stay involved at practice."

Jefferson, part of the highly-touted freshman class, suffered a pulled groin muscle earlier this week and sat out Tuesday's practice. While Hartley could miss a couple more practices, Jefferson figures to be good to go at the Huskies' next practice.

"It's early in the season so I don't have a problem sitting out before I do something that is really serious," Jefferson said.

UConn coach Geno Auriemma was asked for his take on the fact that work constructing the new basketball practice facility can begin now that UConn has received $24 million in donations for the $32 million project.

"I haven't heard yet what the date is that they are starting the actual date of the project but from a player's standpoint I think it gives us a lot more flexibility," Auriemma said. "It gives us an opportunity to practice at times that are convenient to us and not when they are convenient for the building. We get the chance to maximize whatever talents our players have basketball wise, academically as far as anything else it is just the wave of the future, that is the way everybody is going. I think it will be a great addition for us because we need to space, a place where we can practice that works for us and their players, kids that come late to practice because we have to practice at a certain time."

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