Sophomore center Kiah Stokes took another firm step forward today in her attempt to return to action when she participated in her first full practice since being sidelined by a stress reaction in her right shin. She is listed as probable for Wednesday’s game at Georgetown.
Stokes, who will have to wear a sleeve on her leg when she plays, has missed the last five games. She has not played since seeing eight minutes against Penn State Dec. 6.
“I’m hoping to play,’’ Stokes said. “It’s been a while since I’ve been on the court so I’m just ready to get after it and get back playing again. It’s been a long five games sitting out so it feels good to be getting back.
“I think I’ll have to calm myself down a little bit. It will take a while to get the rust off. I haven’t played for a while. So it’ll take me a few minutes or so, but I’ll be good to go.’’
Stokes was able to finally workout in a halfcourt setting at practice late last week and she said that she could have played in an emergency Saturday against Notre Dame.
Stokes, who was still wearing an air cast on her right leg Monday night, is not yet completely healed. However, she has been virtually pain-free during her recent workouts.
“I’m just working my way back up,’’ Stokes said. “If my leg starts hurting then maybe at practice the next day calm down a little bit. But everything I’ve done now it doesn’t hurt as bad as it did before. So it’s just getting better every day and hopefully it’ll stay on that track.’’
Stokes is averaging 2.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 12.4 minutes in eight games this season. UConn coach Geno Auriemma is unsure exactly how much playing time she will see against the Hoyas.
“She’s usually limited by her energy level,’’ Auriemma said. “So I’m hoping that not playing for a while maybe lights a little bit of a fire under her. So she’s going to be limited by herself, not me.’’
Said UConn sophomore Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis: “It’s probably going to be a slow start for her. But hopefully she comes back strong and she watched what we’ve been doing the past couple of weeks and watched what we learned from the loss (to Notre Dame) and she comes in and helps us.’’