We spent a few minutes Thursday with the UConn basketball team. The Huskies head to Pittsburgh tomorrow and will take on the Panthers Saturday afternoon (Noon, ESPN2).
— THE BIG NEWS, is you can call it that, is point guard Shabazz Napier has a contusion to his left shoulder that kept him out of practice Thursday and today.
Napier hurt the shoulder Monday against Louisville early in the first half. It was a play where Louisville’s Peyton Siva picked up his second foul, but teammate Wayne Blackshear fell on Napier after the play.
It sounds like Napier will play but it’s far from definite.
“He’s OK. He’ll be ready to play,” coach Kevin Ollie said. “Hopefully he’ll practice (Friday) and have a good game on Saturday. We wanted to rest him just in case.”
Napier admitted he was in pain, at least beginning on Tuesday morning.
“Too painful. It’s hard for me to sleep some days,” Napier said. “But James (Doran) is doing a great job getting me where I need to be for tomorrow (practice) and also for Saturday.”
UConn has pushed back its practice Friday in order to increase the chances Napier can participate. The Huskies were originally slated to practice in Storrs then fly to Pittsburgh later in the day. Now, they’ll head to Pittsburgh first then have a late (5 p.m.) practice in the Steel City.
Napier isn’t hopeful he’ll be fine.
“I really hope so,” Napier said. “I was telling James, I don’t think I’ve missed one game since I came here. And I don’t plan on missing any games. I’ve played through a whole bunch of injuries in my life.”
Napier knew he was hurt after falling int he game.
“I tried to do a KG (Kevin Garnett) push-up. It wasn’t happening,” Napier said.
— THE HUSKIES HAVE won two straight games over the Panthers but haven’t had a lot of success in Pittsburgh recently.
UConn is 11-12 all-time at Pitt, but just 1-5 at the still-pretty-new Petersen Events Center. UConn has lost 3 straight in the building.