When will Christyn Williams exit COVID-19 protocols and return to the UConn women’s basketball team? It depends

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As the UConn women’s basketball team turns the page following Monday’s 72-59 road loss to Oregon, one looming question remains: When will Christyn Williams be able to exit COVID-19 protocols and return to the UConn women’s basketball team?

The senior guard played Saturday at the XL Center — dropping 19 points in a win over Xavier — before the team found out the following day that she wouldn’t be available for the Huskies’ big nonconference matchup against the Ducks. UConn has been testing players for COVID-19 if they present symptoms or if they are a close contact to someone who tests positive, per CDC guidelines. No other players or staff were affected, the school said, and it was unclear whether Williams traveled with the team before testing positive.

The short answer as for when she’ll return? It depends.

Based off local health guidance, UConn still uses a 10-day isolation period as the “baseline standard” but says an athlete who “is boosted or not booster eligible to exit isolation after five days. This would be contingent on the fact that the person is asymptomatic, and tests negative on Day 6,” the school said in a statement to The Courant Tuesday.

“However, this does not mean they can begin team activities immediately as there are return to play standards that could take several more days to meet.”

UConn’s team is all vaccinated, but it is unknown what Williams’ booster status is or whether she’s experiencing symptoms.

Back when the UConn women had four players who tested positive for COVID-19 after the holidays, they had to isolate for 10 days. At the time, Auriemma said they needed five days of practice under their belts before they could play in games. In that first set of cases, the players’ symptoms were “almost nil,” according to Auriemma.

Based off the timeline the school provided, it doesn’t seem wise to count on having Williams for Friday’s game against Seton Hall. After that, the Huskies are set to travel to Queens and take on St. John’s.

The biggest hope would be that Williams is healthy and available for next Thursday’s rematch at South Carolina. The Huskies will already be without Paige Bueckers and Aubrey Griffin and would be at in even greater disadvantage if they have to compete without the team’s second-leading scorer (14.6 points per game). And while Williams had an up-and-down season prior to her COVID-19 absence, she had played her best, well-rounded basketball in the two games prior to Oregon. At the very baseline, the Huskies are severely limited if they can only play with three guards and are without one of their few go-to scorers left standing.

There was a shred of hope that came out of Auriemma’s postgame press conference regarding freshman Azzi Fudd, who has been out since December with a foot injury.

“Azzi’s is coming along,” he said. “We got pretty good news on her the other day that she can start doing some workouts. So hopefully little by little, we’ll get her out on the court before too long.”

Alexa Philippou can be reached at aphilippou@courant.com.

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