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Four UConn Women’s Basketball Players Provide Injury Updates

The injured Huskies speak about their progress back from their respective recoveries.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

The UConn women’s basketball team met with the media for the first time since the end of the season and those dealing with injuries were able to provide updates on their recovery progress.

Katie Lou Samuelson

Samuelson went down with an ankle injury in the home opener against Cal and subsequently missed the next four games. She dealt with it all season and once the season ended, Samuelson underwent surgery on her left ankle to fix the nagging injury.

“The doctors told me that I would need to do this, we were prepared for it,” she said. “They told me early on there was always a possibility of it, so it wasn’t all of the sudden random. I was mentally prepared this was going to happen.”

With the season still about four months away, both Samuelson and the team are taking it slow so not to overdo things and cause a setback.

“It’s a long process and I’m starting to do more and more each day so I’m really happy with where I’m at,” she said. “I’m walking good, hopefully starting jogging soon but we’re taking our time with it. Not trying to rush anything because there’s no reason to try to get back too quickly.”

However, the senior is eager to get back on the court and play again.

“I definitely wish I was working on things,” she said. “The offseason is where people make those kinds of jumps each year, you get to put in the work but I feel comfortable with where I am right now. A lot of it is mental right now. For me this is a blessing in disguise making me be more patient and trying to figure everything out that way.”

Crystal Dangerfield

Dangerfield dealt with shin splints throughout the season that forced her to sit out of practice for nearly the entire second half of the season. Despite a strong start to the year, the point guard tailed off because of the injury.

After the season, Dangerfield said she took two and a half weeks off before running on the Alter G treadmill which took off 50 percent of her body weight. Now, Dangerfield says the shins are still an issue but are “close to gone.”

“I feel fine and I don’t feel like it’ll rear its ugly head this season,” she said. “My quads just got a little too big last season and it was causing pressure so as long as I’m stretching, working on my hamstrings, I’ll be alright.”

Mikayla Coombs

Coombs season ended in March when she was diagnosed with a deep vein thrombosis. It certainly took the then-freshman by surprise.

“I’ve never been through anything like that before,” she said. “I’ve had an ACL injury, that’s it. So to have something like that it was just crazy to hear but I mean things happen.”

She still has not been cleared for contact but can lift, condition and do other similar activities.

“I just can’t really play actual basketball right now,” Coombs said. “This injury is just a whole bunch of waiting for it to clear out completely. We’re in precautionary measures.”

Since she is unable to participate in team workouts, Coombs says she has been working on her shooting in the gym.

“I feel like I can shoot but I’d love to be more consistent,” she said. “I kind of take it as a blessing in disguise to fine-tune some small things I need to work on.”

Olivia Nelson-Ododa

In January 2017, Nelson-Ododa tore her Medial Patellofemoral Ligament (MPFL) in a knee injury that also dislocated and fractured her kneecap. After surgery, recovery took about 10 months and the injury has since healed. Now, it’s simply a matter of strengthening the knee back to where it was.

“It’s coming along pretty well, the trainers and the people that have been working with me on it have really helped a lot,” Nelson-Ododa said. “It’s just about getting my legs stronger and what I need to perform at a high level during the season.”

The freshman has already thrown down a dunk since the injury, so it shouldn’t be a concern with the season still a long ways off.