Hurley says Huskies have nine players dealing with covid

Published on Friday, 31 December 2021 19:47

Journal Inquirer

The UConn men’s basketball team, which saw its two games scheduled this week canceled for COVID reasons, didn’t just have one or two players affected by the virus.

Coach Dan Hurley, who has himself tested positive and is quarantining at home, says some 75 percent of his roster has been impacted.

“I think nine (players) either have COVID or are showing symptoms,” Hurley said on a zoom call with reporters Thursday. “And then you have Adama (Sanogo), who is limited but his injury situation.”

Hurley says the players and staff members who have tested positive are experiencing mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. The coach, too, says he hasn’t been physically suffering too much.

“A couple days of mild symptoms. But with the vaccine and the booster, minus some headaches and some body aches it hasn’t been that bad physically,” Hurley said. “Obviously pausing again and that feeling of being isolated and away from your team and the season, and your purpose, starts to weigh on you.”

The mental battle with the Huskies, and their coach, is seemingly more serious than the physical ones.

“For them it’s a little like ‘Here we go again’ with the season,” Hurley said.

Hurley said he started feeling some symptoms on Dec. 23 and that many of the players “have a similar timeline.”

UConn (10-3, 1-1 Big East) has been idle since Dec. 21. The team has held no practices since.

“The tough part for us is the last time the team has practiced was the 21st,” Hurley said, noting that the players were given three days off after that for the holiday break. “On the 25th multiple members of the program, myself included, started testing positive.”

Hurley says some five or six of his players, all of whom are not showing symptoms and have multiple negative tests, are working out with the coaches who also meet those criteria.

Still, the Huskies’ games against Xavier (Tuesday) and Butler (today) were wiped out by the Big East Conference. The league is attempting to reschedule them.

UConn’s next regularly scheduled game is Jan. 8 against Seton Hall in Newark, New Jersey. Hurley is hopeful that game is played as scheduled but he’s also fairly certain not all of his players will be ready to play by then.

“We’re likely to be without players January 8th. We’re likely to be without players for the St. John’s game (Jan. 12) as well,” Hurley said. “Just because it’s a staggered thing, the timing of people getting symptoms and getting a positive test is kind of staggered with us. You’ll see players coming back in a staggered fashion.”

The protocols UConn and other Big East teams are following call for a 10-day period of isolation following a positive test. The CDC recently adjusted its recommendations and now calls for a five-day period instead.

The NFL and some other sports leagues have changed their protocols but most of college basketball has not.

“That 5-day or 10-day window, especially if you’re without symptoms, when will that kick in?” Hurley asked, referring to discussions he’s had with other coaches in the league.

Hurley hopes the current pause the Huskies are on is the only disruption to their season, and he admits telling his players to expect exactly that.

Hurley spent the Christmas holiday and the days since in his home, and admits he’s likely spread to all of his immediate family.

“My wife, Andrea, I’d imagine I gave her the COVID. She’s got it and she isn’t feeling great. … Both my sons, as well, I gave it to them for Christmas,” Hurley said with a slight laugh.

The coach has been watching lots of film of his team’s play so far and plenty on the Huskies’ upcoming opponents but admits he’s extremely anxious to return to Storrs and in-person coaching.

Hurley says he’s feeling fine now and is ready to return, though he might require a little grooming, first.

“I have a beard coming in that doesn’t look very good,” Hurley said.

Posted in Newington Town Crier, UConn on Friday, 31 December 2021 19:47. Updated: Friday, 31 December 2021 19:49.