Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Exuberant Banks ready for her return to court for UConn

Brianna Banks has made that short walk from Gampel Pavilion to the Burton Family Complex more times than she cares to remember over the last several months but none were quite like the one she made yesterday.

Banks has been working vigorously so she could return to the court for UConn's exhibition games. Right on schedule Banks was given the OK to practice without restriction on Wednesday and is expected to play in the Huskies' preseason opener on Friday.

"All I could do was smile and the doctor (Robert Arciero) said 'it was the first time I have seen you smile,'" Banks said.  "I said 'you told me something I wanted to hear.'

"I went and saw the doctor and he saw the (range of motion) test that I took and it looked great and in the past two weeks it was great and then he and Rosie (Ragle, UConn's athletic trainer) did a little talking and he said 'you can go for it.'"

UConn coach Geno Auriemma doesn't have a set allotment of playing time he is planning to give Banks in tomorrow night's preseason game.

"I don't think we got into any game saying we are going to play her 'x' amount of minutes and that's it," Auriemma said. "I think we just go by 'what does it look like?' I am sure she is going to be winded a little bit. She did everything she was supposed to do but she probably had to work a little harder than she ever did but she looks good."

Banks has drawn raves from teammates and coaches alike for her positive attitude throughout the process as she worked her way back from a torn ACL.

"The only thing you can do through the process is keep a positive attitude and do what everybody is telling you to do in terms of the doctors, trainers and be as much of a part of the team as you can and it is really the only thing you can bring so when you don't do that, it makes everything exponentially harder so I think she has done a good job with that," UConn assistant coach Shea Ralph said. "Her transition back has been good in terms of it can be easy to get down on yourself, harder to do initially, you feel like you are stuck in mud, you forget how to play a little bit so she is probably making more mistakes than she normally makes but she is being aggressive and mentally that is one of the harder things to do when you come back from an injury because it is easy to be tentative when you come back. Brianna has been great in terms of understanding that she has worked to this point and she is going to work hard, be aggressive and keep moving forward.

"I think it has been one of her big goals (returning by the first preseason game). It is hard because people will tell you that but part of the rehab is getting back. It is one thing to say 'I am going to be cleared' and it is another thing to be able to play well and do the things you want to do well so she has done a great job of getting herself back into practice and doing everything the trainers have told her to do and now it is that she needs to keep improving."


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