The chance that Jim Calhoun returns to the UConn bench this season is looking more and more unlikely.
The school announced that the Husky head coach will miss at least the next three games with back problems that have left him immobile. Calhoun has already missed three games after UConn’s trip to Washington DC to take on the Hoyas caused a flare-up of the spinal stenosis that he has been battling since the summer. This isn’t the first battle Calhoun has had with his health. He’s a three-time cancer survivor that missed a seven-game stretch two years ago after battling exhaustion. It was enough that many believed Calhoun would ride off into the sunset after last year’s national title run.
“He’s still trying to sift through all the information and make a decision,” assistant coach George Blaney told UConn beat writer Kevin Duffy. “As we all know, there are so many answers to back ailments as far as what you should do and what you shouldn’t do. That’s what he’s sifting through right now. Hopefully, he’ll be able to make a decision shortly and hopefully it will be a quick cure.”
Losing their head coach for a longer stretch is the last thing that UConn needs right now. They take on a DePaul team in Storrs tonight, a win they should be able to get even if it was me coaching them, but follow that up with a key stretch where they take on Marquette, Syracuse and Villanova. With their record currently at 15-9 overall and 5-7 in the Big East, UConn is no where near a lock for the NCAA Tournament. The fact that the NCAA is currently reviewing an appeal to ignore the new APR rules and allow the Huskies to be eligible for postseason play next season surely isn’t helping the team’s focus, either.
Considering that UConn was legitimately thought to be a national title contender in the preseason, there’s only one way this season could be more disappointing — the Huskies end up missing the NCAA Tournament.
And that is looking like a real possibility right now.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.