After having two games canceled due to COVID-19 within the program, UConn head coach Dan Hurley offered some clarity on the team’s situation on Thursday. He said that nine players, including his son Andrew, tested positive for the virus and are experiencing mild symptoms.
Between the slew of positive results and Adama Sanogo still coming back from his abdominal injury, the Huskies fell below the necessary seven players to field a team for their games against Xavier and Butler. Hurley told reporters that while a handful of players that have tested negative are practicing now, the rest may need a few days to ramp up, which means they would miss the Jan. 8 game against Seton Hall if it’s played, and possibly even the Jan. 12 game against St. John’s depending on how they bounce back.
Perhaps the only good thing about this extended pause is that Sanogo could be cleared within the next week to play without a minutes restriction, giving the Huskies another healthy player and a key starter back in action.
“The silver lining is that Adama, by the time next week rolls around, could be looking at being fully cleared with restrictions,” Hurley said.
With Sanogo possibly back in the mix, UConn may have enough players to take on the Pirates on Jan. 8, though a Jan. 12 game against St. John’s seems like the safest bet as Sanogo and players that have tested positive will need time to practice and get back to game speed. Either way, with the whole team being fully vaccinated and many boosted, combined with the fact that the Huskies had nine positive tests, Hurley is hoping this is the team’s first and only COVID-19 pause of this season.
While Hurley and the Huskies are aiming to return to the court on Jan. 8 or Jan. 12, it’s likely that UConn will have some sort of new policy in place ahead of the Jan. 12 home game against St. John’s. Per Hearst’s Dave Borges, the school is considering multiple options for games going forward, including a vaccine requirement.
Shortly after Hurley’s press conference, UConn announced that it would be delaying an in-person return to campus for two weeks — shifting student move-in for the Spring semester from Jan. 15 to Jan. 29. The school also mentioned that booster shots will eventually be required for eligible students. Currently, UConn requires all eligible students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
As of now, UConn has not officially made any changes to the attendance policies for games at Gampel Pavilion and the XL Center, but with students remote for an extra two weeks and the Omicron variant surging throughout the United States, adjustments seem to be almost certainly on the horizon.