Greetings from Cincinnati. The Huskies just arrived, with guard Shabazz Napier, if there was any doubt.
The Huskies’ junior star isn’t guaranteed of playing Saturday against the Bearcats, however. Napier, who hurt his right foot in Wednesday’s loss to Georgetown, did not practice Friday with the Huskies and he’s still wearing a protective boot instead of a normal shoe.
Napier will be evaluated Saturday morning and it will be the old “game time decision” as to whether or not he plays.
“I have to do what’s best, not only for myself but for the team,” Napier said. “Hopefully I wake up (today) feeling good. If I don’t, I won’t play.”
It’s unclear if the stress fracture Napier suffered in the offseason has simply flared up again or if it’s a new injury.
“I don’t know what it’s called. It’s a bad foot,” Napier said.
Napier said he’s been doing a lot of “rehab” over the last few days including icing the foot and some strength and conditioning.
“It’s to strengthen the muscles and everything around my foot so that if it does happen again, it doesn’t hurt as bad,” Napier said.
— UCONN COACH Kevin Ollie insisted he didn’t know whether or not Napier would be available to play.
Ollie said holding him out of practice Friday gave him the best chance of healing enough to play against the Bearcats.
“I know he’s a winner, he loves this university and he loves playing for UConn,” Ollie said. “I imagine if he can go, he’ll probably do his best to try to be out here.”
If Napier can’t play, Ollie was pretty positive about his team’s chances.
“Everybody’s going to have to step up their level of play without Shabazz in there,” Ollie said. “I know our guys are capable so I’m looking forward to the challenge if it presents itself.”
— NAPIER SAID HE hadn’t heard of the Catholic 7 news Friday evening. As for Ollie, he claimed to be unfazed by the potential loss of the Big East name and a postseason tournament at Madison Square Garden.
“As long as I don’t lose ‘Connecticut’ on my jersey, I’m fine,” Ollie said. “We can play in the backyard.”
“If I’ve got UConn nation behind me, I’m fine,” Ollie continued. “I’ve got a great president, I’ve got a great athletic director and they’re going to put us in the best situation possible.”
— ON A SOMEWHAT secondary injury front, guard Omar Calhoun is still dealing with a sprained right wrist.
Calhoun said he re-aggravated the wrist Friday in practice, though he says he’ll certainly play against the Bearcats.
“It hurts a little more,” Calhoun said.
The best way for the injury to heal is rest, and that won’t happen for three more games, it seems.
“I’ll be dealing with it the rest of the season,” Calhoun said.