UConn women’s basketball is only one week into its summer workouts, but the team is already short on players. On Thursday, Geno Auriemma said only five players can participate every day at the moment: Paige Bueckers, Aaliyah Edwards, Lou Lopez Sénéchal, Nika Mühl and Ayanna Patterson. Amari DeBerry sometimes joins that group, but not always.
“Amari comes and goes,” Auriemma said. “Some days she’s good to go, other days she’s not. So we have five and a half, I guess you could say.”
The number only reached five recently, too. Mühl had been dealing with a non-COVID, non-flu illness and only just got cleared to return. The only surprise non-participant is Azzi Fudd (foot), though it sounds like it’s more of a precautionary measure than anything.
“Azzi does some individuals but she is not yet going up and down the floor,” Auriemma said. “We’re still trying to make sure that there’s no lingering effects from what her issues were last year.”
Meanwhile, freshman Ice Brady has not joined the team due to USA Basketball commitments while Caroline Ducharme, Dorka Juhász and Aubrey Griffin all continue to work back from surgeries.
Ducharme and Juhász can both do basketball activities, albeit in limited capacities. Ducharme underwent left hip surgery in April but is progressing. She’s off crutches and is adding more exercises to her physical therapy routine.
“It’s still pretty slow,” she said. “I’m able to do more in the pool, I’m able to bike, be on the elliptical. Right now, I’m just more strengthening (the hip).”
In terms of basketball, Ducharme can shoot but she’s just not allowed to jump, so she’s mostly working in the paint.
As for Juhász, she’s can do more than Ducharme on the court and in the weight room in her recovery from a fractured left wrist suffered in the Elite Eight against NC State.
“The first weeks (after surgery) were super hard just because I was like laying,” she said. “But now I’m actually trying to get myself back to shape running a lot — my legs are working, so that means that I can run a lot. I can do everything with my right hand. So now I feel like I’m getting back to shape.”
However, Griffin has still not touched a basketball.
“She’s just trying to get herself able to run up and down the floor,” Auriemma said. “If any of you have ever had back problems or back surgery, it’s probably the worst kind of surgery you could ever have.”