Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

UConn's Butler remains upbeat despite injury

Under normal circumstances this would be the time when Natalie Butler would be pushing for a prominent role if not a starting one at UConn.

Sitting out the mandated one season after her transfer left the 6-foot-5 Butler eager to be more than just an energetic practice player for Huskies. Well, her debut with the Huskies will have to wait as she tore ligaments in her left thumb which resulted in surgery a week and a half ago.

"My initial reaction, I was heartbroken but I have a great support team here," said Butler after UConn's practice on Thursday. "All my coaches have been supportive and my family has been amazing giving me all the support I need and I have a great doctor. Dr. (Craig) Rodner really gave me confidence that they are going to get me back as soon as possible."

As soon as possible may not be until UConn kicks off the conference portion of its schedule with a Dec. 30 game at Cincinnati if she is back that early.

She is currently wearing a cast, the second different one she was fitting with since the surgery, and after three weeks in this cast she will be fitted with a splint.

"I should be back in eight weeks," said Butler, who was injured on a defensive drill when a basketball struck her thumb. "What I've learned is everything happens for a reason, you have to take it in stride and I have great teammates who have been very supportive and a great coaching staff."

Dan Wiley was a well-known figure in the California girls' basketball circles both as the head coach at Edison High School where he coached UConn freshman Katie Lou Samuelson for a season and with the powerful Cal Swish AAU program so his unexpected death on Monday at the age of 61 has hit the basketball community hard.

"You will never find somebody who has a bad thing to say about him," Auriemma said of Wiley.
"He is kind of the right-hand man with the Cal Swish AAU team. I just found out about it because it just happened. I talked to Russ (Davis, the Cal Swish coach and director) about it today and it kind of brings everything to a different light - he is my age."

Davis is also the head coach at NAIA powerhouse Vanguard University who will be bringing his team to Storrs for a Nov. 8 exhibition game against the Huskies. Auriemma believed that Wiley was planning to come to that game to watch.
"I know he had a huge impact on Russ, the Cal Swish program, the kids, he just had a good way about him," Auriemma said.

Here are the videos I shot from today's practice so enjoy


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