Tuck Back At Practice, Expected To Play Sunday Vs. DePaul

UConn coach Geno Auriemma was encouraged recently by the report he had received from the medical staff regarding freshman Morgan Tuck and her problematic right knee. She was making steady progress. And she produced seven points and five rebounds in 23 minutes at St. John’s Feb. 2. Her playing time matched her second-highest total of the season.

It appeared that Tuck had finally turned the corner. That was until she slipped on some ice last Sunday on campus and re-aggravated the bone bruise in her knee. The incident forced her not only miss practice Sunday and Monday, but it also kept her out of Tuesday’s win over Marquette.

The time off apparently served Tuck well as she returned to practice Thursday night.

“Everybody practiced yesterday expect Brianna Banks, obviously,’’ Auriemma said. “And we expect everybody to be ready to go tomorrow and we expect everybody to be able to play on Sunday (against DePaul). Now I say that with the understanding that Morgan’s situation is every day. The latest report that we got is that she was doing so much better and then the little mishap on the ice kind of set her back a little bit. But, hopefully, that was just a temporary thing and then we’ll be able to go for here.’’

Tuck, who is averaging 5.7 points and 3.4 rebounds in 14.8 minutes, has missed four games this season. Auriemma is optimistic that at some point Tuck will overcome her injury woes and become a regular contributor for the Huskies.

“If Morgan was a junior I think she’d know how to handle this a little bit better,’’ Auriemma said. “She would handle it like Caroline (Doty). She would just come in and play when she could and contribute and then move on. But because she’s a freshman she has no reference point. So it’s hard for her to one day be at practice and the next day not practice, then practice for three days and play in a game like St John’s and not practice for two days. That’s not natural and she has no experience in that. So I’m hoping that little by little if we can get a two-week stretch where she practices every day and plays in a bunch of games that all of a sudden we start to see more of what Morgan can do. That’s our goal, anyway.’’