Nine UConn men’s basketball players either have tested positive for COVID-19 or are showing mild symptoms

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The UConn men’s basketball team is heading into the new year with a COVID-19 crisis. According to coach Dan Hurley, nine players either have tested positive for COVID-19 or are showing mild symptoms. The team is fully vaccinated and most have had the booster.

“Probably more players have felt symptoms than not,” Hurley said

Hurley himself has tested positive. He said he started to experience symptoms for COVID-19 around Dec. 24.

“I started getting mild symptoms on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day,” Hurley said. ”... With the vaccine and the booster, minus some headaches and body aches, it hasn’t been that bad.

“The couple days I had symptoms, I kind of rested and slept a lot. I am feeling a lot better in the last day. I am chomping at the bit, ready to get back to work.”

On Dec. 25, multiple members of the program, including Hurley, started testing positive for COVID-19. The team as a whole hasn’t fully practiced since Dec. 20, which was the day before the victory over Marquette. The Huskies currently have five to six players who have tested negatively repeatedly for COVID-19 and have shown no symptoms. Those players have been doing some weightlifting in small groups and workouts with coaches who don’t have symptoms and have tested negative.

While the chaos COVID-19 has caused for the Huskies roster, it has given forward Adama Sanogo more time to recover from from his abdominal strain. He has the chance to have no minutes restrictions when UConn plays Seton Hall on Jan. 8. Sanogo made his return after a four-game absence in UConn’s 78-70 win against Marquette, playing 13 minutes.

“By the time next week rolls around, he (Sanogo) could be looking fully cleared without restrictions,” Hurley said. “It’s such a challenging injury, an abdominal tear and just not having the time to build up any strength or cardio. ... The hard part for him is we haven’t been able to get him going because of all the chaos that has broken out because of all the positives.”

Hurley said he hopes thestwo missed games this week, against Xavier on Dec. 28, and Butler on Jan. 1, are the only disruptions for COVID-19 for the rest of the season.

There has been no suggestion to pause the season or to play in a bubble among Big East coaches, according to Hurley. The biggest discussion has been on the new CDC isolation policy regarding COVID-19 positives, which allows people to come out of isolation after five days if asymptomatic.

Hurley doesn’t anticipate UConn playing its makeup games before Jan. 8 even if the new CDC five-day isolation policy is adopted. In fact, look for UConn to be shorthanded against Seton Hall on Jan. 8 and against St. John’s on Jan. 12.

“We are likely to be without players on Jan. 8 and likely to be without players for the St. John’s game as well,” Hurley said. “The timing of people getting symptoms and positive tests was kind of staggered with us, so I think you are going to see ... players come back in a staggered fashion.”

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