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Napier sidelined with shoulder injury

By Gavin Keefe

Publication: theday.com

Published January 17. 2013 2:00PM   Updated January 17. 2013 5:56PM

UConn starting guard Shabazz Napier has not practiced since suffering a left shoulder contusion in Monday's loss to Louisville Monday.

He's considered day to day.

Coach Kevin Ollie expects Napier, the team's leading scorer at 17.1 points per game, will play at Pittsburgh on Saturday.

"I think his shoulder came out of place a little bit, but he'll be ready to play," Ollie said after practice Thursday at Gampel Pavilion. "Hopefully, he'll practice tomorrow and have a good game on Saturday."

The Huskies were supposed to practice early Friday morning before leaving for Pittsburgh, but Ollie moved the workout to 5 p.m. in Pittsburgh to give Napier more time to heal.

"I hope so," said Napier when asked if he's playing Saturday. "I don't think I've missed one game since I came here. I don't really plan on missing any games. I've played through a whole bunch of injuries in my life, especially here.

"I'm blessed enough for it not to be my shooting arm. If I can fight through it to help my teammates out, I'm going to do what I can do."

Napier has had trouble sleeping because of the pain. He suffered the injury early in the first half during a drive to the basket. Louisville's Peyton Siva fouled Napier and Wayne Blackshear fell on him.

"I landed in an awkward position and the person just landed on my shoulder and my back...," Napier said. "After the game it was hurting a lot, but now it's cooled down and I've been moving much better than I did after the game."

His shoulder gradually stiffened up during the game. He says he should have sat out the second half.

"I felt different, but I was still out there so I can't give too much excuses," Napier said.

Napier scored 10 points in the first half but only two after intermission.

Without Napier at practice, junior Niels Giffey practiced with the first team on Thursday.

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