Calhoun back at practice, may coach Saturday


UConn coach Jim Calhoun speaks with the media Friday in Gampel Pavilion. (Neill Ostrout photo)

UConn coach Jim Calhoun was back at practice with the Huskies Friday after missing the last month of action with a bad back. He had surgery Monday, was released from the hospital Tuesday and was back in his office just after 10 a.m. Friday morning.

“I just couldn’t stay home any longer,” Calhoun said. “I didn’t know what I was going to do. I was almost going to come in yesterday (Thursday) but decided physically I just couldn’t do it.

Calhoun guided his team (maybe not with as much fury as some instances but he was in charge clearly) through their workout Friday but wasn’t sure if he’d coach the Huskies Saturday against Pittsburgh.

“I’ll see how I feel (Saturday) when I get up to see if I’m going to come to the game,” Calhoun said. “It’s not a mystery thing. It’s just I want to feel that I can give the kids my best at 12 o’clock tomorrow.”

— His players were pretty sure Calhoun would show up.

“He’ll be here,” center Andre Drummond said. “I don’t have a doubt in my mind.”

— Calhoun said he “had” to come back Friday.

“I felt caged a little bit. I wanted to get back with the kids,” Calhoun said.

“It’s nice in those moments where you’re collecting trophies and all those kinds of things, but you need to be there when things aren’t going so well,” Calhoun said. “Right now they haven’t gone as well as we would like.”

— The surgery was apparently a success.

“The pain from the stenosis is completely gone,” Calhoun said. “It was gone right after surgery, or at least what I remember after the surgery.”

— The coach even took a minute to take a not-so-veiled shot at one member of the press corps for something they had written recently. Yes, the coach was back at nearly full strength.

“I’m tired. But I expect to be tired,” Calhoun said. “Beyond that, I’m still my cranky self. Getting back to normal. I’m not quite as cranky as I should be.”

— Whether it’s Jim Calhoun or George Blaney at the helm Saturday, the Huskies have to play a great deal better.

“We’ve played three really, really good games in a row and have had bad moments in the games,” Blaney said of games against Villanova, Syracuse and Providence. “We came away 1-2 in those three games and we easily could have won three or at least two.”



About Neill

Neill Ostrout covers the UConn men's basketball team for the Journal Inquirer in Manchester. He has been a member of the "Horde" for more than 16 years.
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