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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Is UConn's Morgan Tuck's sophomore season at risk?

Bria Hartley didn't drop the dreaded "redshirt" word  when discussing the season-long struggle that her UConn teammate Morgan Tuck was dealing with this season but did mention the possibility that Tuck could undergo a second surgery on her right knee.

In the last week or two there was always a sense of optimism that Tuck's return to the lineup was just a matter of time. But UConn coach Geno Auriemma was clearly dejected when the subject was raised in the press conference following Wednesday's 83-49 win over Memphis especially since this was the game that Tuck, the coaching staff and players were pointing to as the game when she could return to action..

"We are concerned that the season is starting to get away from us so I know she is very frustrated," Auriemma said, "I know the coaches are frustrated and we will see."

Hartley's words following the game were even more concerning.

"I was talking to her a little bit and she kind of struggled with having to go back and forth, back and forth," Hartley said. "It is kind of the best decision to kind of sit out this year and she can come back, get surgery, recover and then she will be at full strength. You just  kind of have to see how everything goes."

Thankfully Auriemma was still hanging around at that time so I walked with him onto the court and asked him if shutting down Tuck was a possibility.

"At this point in time, it hasn't been thrown around because she wants to play," Auriemma said. "I think there does come a point in time when you have to figure out what is best for this kid and what are we going to do. At some point her, her mom, dad and everybody we are going to figure out what we are going to do. I know know she doesn't want to be in a situation where it is two weeks in, two weeks out, that kind of (stinks)."

Auriemma is not sure that since Tuck played against Houston, which was the 16th game of the season and came after the midway point of the regular season whether Tuck will be eligible to return. Ideally, that is an option he won't need to investigate further as he is holding out hope that she may be able to return to practice in another week or two.

Junior guard Brianna Banks only played three minutes due to an ankle injury she first suffered last week and reaggravated in Tuesday's practice. When it was evident that she couldn't, Auriemma made the decision to sit her for the rest of the game. It sounded like a pretty minor injury so perhaps she will see more action when UConn hosts South Florida on Sunday.

Speaking of knee issues, he spoke with UConn signee Gabby Williams who landed awkwardly on her surgically-repaired right knee in her game on Tuesday night. Williams went down in pain and grabbed her knee but both her high school coach and father are hopeful that it is a minor injury and not another torn ACL and the preliminary reports give hope that could be the case.

"I just got word this afternoon," Auriemma said. "She told me she landed and it felt kind of funny and it hurt but there was no news yet on what it was so I am going to wait until I talk to her later. That is always a danger when somebody gets that kind of an injury, comes back and plays. You keep your fingers crossed all the time and you hope it doesn't reoccur. I keep my fingers crossed with her and anybody else who has to go through that type of injury. 

Williams is a world-class high jumper and there was some speculation in the local media in Nevada that perhaps she is simply too athletic for her body to handle at time.

"That might be a part of it," Auriemma said. "The athletic ability  that she has certainly is unique but I think she is just growing into her body." 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually Tuck's 16th game was actually in the first half of their season - using the NCAA definition. In the formula, you take the 31 scheduled games plus an allowance for one league tournament game - which means the calc is based on a 32-game schedule.

10:50 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 10:50 post is correct.

12:31 PM 

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