Ashley Battle walked into the team huddle Wednesday -- one day after crumpling to the floor in Miami with a wounded left arm -- and started to cry. The injury to her left elbow, which made her scream in agony the night before, might put her on the bench for the rest of the season.
At the very least, she will not be in uniform tonight when UConn plays Holy Cross at Gampel Pavilion.
Battle was hurt diving after a loose ball with 4:45 remaining Tuesday in UConn's 77-53 victory over Miami, when a Hurricanes player landed on her as the two struggled for possession. As play proceeded up the court, Battle lay clutching her left elbow and screamed in obvious pain. She was still wincing after being helped to the bench and during preliminary examinations on the UConn bench by trainer Rosemary Ragle.
Immediately after the game, coach Geno Auriemma was holding out hope that it was simply a hyperextension, but later the injury was revealed to be a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in Battle's left elbow.
She underwent an MRI on Wednesday, and though the results have not yet been released, early indications are that it is bad news. Battle won't know the final outcome until today, when she meets with Auriemma and team doctors, but was obviously upset by some of the information she received.
``We'll know more [today],'' Auriemma said. ``Just in talking to Ashley really briefly, she said that what she was able to gather was that it wasn't good and that it might be torn, but I'll know more after I talk to everybody.''
The UCL provides primary stability to the elbow. UCL sprains are classified in three categories. Grade I usually results in some pain with minimal damage. Grade II means more ligament damage and mild looseness in the joint. Grade III is a complete tearing of the ligament and the joint is very loose and unstable. If this is a Grade III sprain it would probably mean Battle would require surgery and be lost for the season.
Even if the suspected tear is not complete, she would likely miss at least six weeks.
Battle, who was unavailable for comment, was led away from the floor by Swin Cash, who threw her arms around the freshman forward and led her into the Huskies' locker room. Cash and Battle are both from Pittsburgh and played with the same AAU organization.
``It's sad to see,'' Cash said. ``I know her family and stuff so I know that they are going to be rooting for her to get back as soon as possible. I would do what I did for anybody on our team but I think it means a little bit more just knowing her from way back.''
Battle has impressed her coaches and teammates with her effort and ability to rebound and play defense. She is averaging 4.2 points and 2.8 rebounds in 10.4 minutes and is tied for third on the team with nine steals.
``She just gives it her all,'' Cash said. ``She goes hard and to see someone have an injury when they are doing that makes me want to cry a little bit.''Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times