UConn women’s basketball’s Aubrey Griffin is officially out for the season after undergoing successful back surgery on Monday, the school announced Wednesday night. After the Huskies’ win over Creighton, head coach Geno Auriemma revealed Griffin had suffered a disk injury in her back.
“That’s been a problem for a while,” he said. “What’s the exact name of it? I don’t know.”
The recovery time is expected to be four months. That means if all goes according to plan, Griffin should be back in time for the team’s summer workouts. While UConn didn’t say officially, the junior will presumably redshirt and will have three years of eligibility remaining — her junior and senior seasons as well as the bonus COVID year.
Griffin had not played yet this season. During the preseason, she suffered a high ankle sprain and also dealt with a leg issue. Griffin appeared to be nearing a return when Auriemma told reporters ahead of the team’s game at Seton Hall on Dec. 3 that the junior would play a few minutes but was unexpectedly ruled out just one day later.
“We thought she was going to be good to go this weekend and our athletic trainer, Janelle [Francisco] told me today after watching her go through some things in practice a little bit...she said, ‘[Aubrey’s] not going to be available this weekend,” Auriemma told 97.9 ESPN at the time. “It’s just been one thing after another for the poor kid. Her ankle, her leg, her back, it’s just a lot. I don’t want to put anybody out there that’s not 100 percent. It’s a long season.”
When UConn traveled down to Georgia Tech on Dec. 9, Griffin was deemed a game-time decision and even participated in warmups. Ultimately, she didn’t play and after trying to practice for a couple of days a week later, the junior was shut down again.
“It doesn’t look good right now,” Auriemma said about Griffin on 97.9 ESPN at the time. “It’s been some muscle pain that keeps flaring up and they’re trying to address it and trying every different treatment. We can’t seem to get to the bottom of it.”
In the first two years of her career, Griffin averaged 6.3 points and 5.1 rebounds in 16.7 minutes per game.
Other injury updates
UConn does appear to be through the worst of its injury woes, though. Both Amari DeBerry and Piath Gabriel returned in the Huskies’ win over Butler after sitting out against Creighton. DeBerry played a career-high 17 minutes while Gabriel scored her first points of the season.
Meanwhile, SNY’s Maria Marino reported on the broadcast that Azzi Fudd (foot) began running on a treadmill this past week but still does not have a timeline for a return. Paige Bueckers (knee) was also spotted using just one crutch instead of two.