Napier Sidelined

Napier shouldn't miss practice (US PRESSWIRE)

Shabazz Napier's diagnosis has gone from "symptomatic discomfort" in his right foot to stress fracture and on Friday Connecticut's junior guard had surgery. The school announced Monday that Napier, UConn's most experienced returning player for 2012-13, will be held out of action for "the next several weeks" as he recovers.

That's the bad news.

The good news is doctors termed the operation a success and Napier is expected to make a full recovery. Napier will be back in a walking boot, as he was earlier this summer, and UConn said he "should be 100 percent healed" by the time official practice begins on Oct. 13.

UConn announced Napier had a right fifth metatarsal internal fixation performed at John Dempsey Hospital at the UConn Health Center. That means a screw was inserted to promote healing of the fracture.

As a spectator at the Jim Calhoun Celebrity Classic Charity All-Star Game at Mohegan Sun Arena on Aug. 4 in Uncasville, Conn., Napier was still wearing the walking boot he began using in June when he withdrew from the tryouts for the Puerto Rico Olympic team. He said at that time his recovery was proceeding well and that the boot would come off within three weeks.

"It feels great actually," Napier said Aug. 4. "Everything is going smoothly. I'm way ahead, so that's always a good thing. Right now I'm just rehabbing. I haven't touched a ball yet. I just want to be 100 percent before I start – no injuries, no sore knees, nothing like that."

Napier had foot and knee problems all last season. He withdrew from the national team rather than risk another season like that.

"I just told myself I couldn't push it," he said. "The Olympics are always going to be there. I only have two more years of college and I just want to go out there and be 100 percent for UConn."

The conservative medical decision was made in June to eliminate basketball practices and wear the boot with the hope the discomfort didn't develop into a stress fracture. In today's release, the UConn medical staff said the treatment did not improve Napier's condition, so the decision was made to have surgery.

Napier played in all 34 UConn games last season, starting 31. He averaged 13.0 points, 5.8 assists and 35 minutes. His two-year totals at UConn include 761 points and 322 assists.

Junior center Tyler Olander is also currently sidelined as well. Olander suffered a mild ankle sprain during a pickup game on Aug. 30 and is supposed to return to basketball activities before the end of this month.

The Huskies have only 10 scholarship players on the roster this season.

The Huskies, who open exhibition play on Nov. 1, are also waiting for Calhoun's decision regarding his coaching future. Calhoun, 70, said last week he is close to a decision and could make an announcement within two weeks. Calhoun is recovering from a fractured hip he suffered in a bicycle accident Aug. 4.

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