Clingan injury an opportunity for Samson Johnson, Youssouf Singare
Head coach Dan Hurley discussed Clingan's timeline for return and the guys expected to step up in his absence.
UConn center Donovan Clingan is out with a foot injury that will cause him to miss the rest of preseason practice. Head coach Dan Hurley has indicated that Clingan should be back for the season opener on November 6th but they’re “not gonna rush him.”
At Friday’s First Night festivities, Hurley would not confirm an exact timeline. “I don’t think anything’s written in stone, it’s all about the symptoms and progressing him back.”
Hurley has also stated that the time away shouldn’t hinder Clingan’s ability to step back in once healthy.
“He’s such a natural player…he’s not gonna need tons of reps, ‘cause he’s got great hands and he’s got great feet,” Hurley explained.
As for Clingan’s progress through the rehab, Hurley quipped that anyone who sees him wandering around campus should tell him to sit down and stay off that foot!
Samson Johnson’s moment
Hurley noted that while unfortunate, Clingan’s injury represents an opportunity for Samson Johnson, now the Huskies’ leading big man, and Youssouf Singare, a freshman in a class full of newcomers expected to make an impact.
Johnson, a 6-foot-10 junior who was a teammate of Adama Sanogo at The Patrick School in New Jersey, began last season in the starting lineup but an injury and changes in the rotation held him to 12 appearances on the season, despite posting seven points and three rebounds in the season opener against Stonehill.
“He’s been waiting really patiently for his opportunity…everyone that’s played here knows how talented he is,” Hurley said. “He’s healthy and he’s gonna get his chance now.” Hurley had previously explained that Johnson was offered opportunities to leave UConn but he and the staff recruited him back.
As a player, Hurley described Johnson as a “movement center” who can “play way above the rim in the ball-screen game and brings an element of quickness, [and] you can do some different things defensively when he’s in the game.”