Updated: Napier questionable for Saturday

Connecticut's Shabazz Napier reacts after being fouled during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Louisville in Hartford, Conn., Monday, Jan. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Fred Beckham)

Connecticut’s Shabazz Napier reacts after being fouled during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Louisville in Hartford, Conn., Monday, Jan. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Fred Beckham)

John F. Silver

STORRS, Conn. — UConn junior guard and leading scorer Shabazz Napier is questionable for Saturday’s Big East game at Pittsburgh as he recovers from a left shoulder contusion suffered on Monday in a loss to No. 1 Louisville.

Napier has not practiced the past three days and will try and give it a go on Friday in practice in Pittsburgh. 

“He’s just resting his shoulder it came out of place. He will be ready to day, Hopefully he practices tomorrow,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie said.

Napier said on Thursday that the injury came in the first half when Louisville guard Peyton Siva fouled Napier and Cardinals forward Wayne Blackshear fell on top of him.

Napier lay on the floor in pain and the game was stopped for several minutes. Napier just wanted Blackshear, off of him.

“I don’t know who fouled me, I just know  I landed on floor and someone landed on me,” Napier said Thursday.  “He sat on me for 10 minutes, I don’t know why none of my teammates pushed him off.  He sat on me for 10 minutes it felt like. I thought it was (6-11, 230-pounds) Dieng at first but everyone says it wasn’t him. I am glad it wasn’t, my arm would be ripped off.”

Napier said the pain was immediate and he tried to do a “Kevin Garnett  push-up” on his knuckles but the pain was too severe. Napier told the staff the shoulder hurt, but ended up playing 35 minutes. He scored 10 points in the first half and after the shoulder stiffened up missed his last nine attempts. Eight of his points came before the injury.

The Huskies (12-4, 2-2) leading scorer at 17.1 points per game, Napier has limited range of motion on his left non-shooting shoulder and was in pain while waking up with soreness all over on Tuesday. Napier’s range of motion remains restricted.

“It’s a struggle to move it up and to the side,” Napier said. ” It just hurts. When I move it, rotate it, it hurts a lot. I am moving it much better than I did after the game.”

Looking back, Napier wished he sat out the game after the injury. He hasn’t picked up a basketball in three days and the coaching staff moved practice to 5 p.m. on Friday in Pittsburgh from Friday morning to get him precious hours of rest.

“Looking back I told Coach Ollie I shouldn’t have played the second half and sat it out,” Napier said. “It was hurting, hurting tremendously, I played 35 minutes with it. I probably should have just sat out and that would have been   enough of rest for, I should have sat out. Deep in my mind, deep i my soul I was thinking to myself that I could help my teammates, but as you can tell I was sluggish and slow and doing things I normally don’t do. I played so slow.”

If Napier can’t go the Huskies become woefully thin at guard. Ryan Boatright is the point guard with Omar Calhoun, fresh of six turnovers against Louisville, as the off guard. R.J. Evans and little-used Brendan Allen are the next guards on the list while Niels Giffey is a good ball-handler and passer for a small forward.

“If (Napier) is not feeling well and not able to play the level we think he needs to play at, RJ (Evans) has to be ready for his role and Brendan has to be ready to play. We’ll do what we’ve done all season –find a way.”

Calhoun to be honored at Dick Vitale dinner:

 Cary, N.C. – The V Foundation for Cancer Research, one of the nation’s leading cancer research funding organizations, is excited to announce the Eighth Annual Dick Vitale Gala. The Gala, hosted by ESPN’s Hall of Fame Sportscaster Dick Vitale, will be held on Friday, May 17, 2013, at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, Florida. University of Kansas’ head men’s basketball coach Bill Self, former University of Connecticut and Hall of Fame college basketball coach Jim Calhoun, and former Florida State University and Hall of Fame college football coach Bobby Bowden will be honored during the event. Net proceeds of the event will be awarded to pediatric cancer research and related programs through The V Foundation.