But that streak came to end Saturday, when the pain in his right foot had the deciding vote.
"I woke up today and I didn't feel 100 percent or close to it," said Napier, who watched in gray sweats as the Huskies lost to Cincinnati 61-56, "so I just told myself I wasn't going to play. I knew I couldn't play basketball today."
Napier's right foot bothered him much of last year, and caused him to withdraw from a chance to play for Puerto Rico in the Olympics during the summer. Eventually, he had surgery to correct a stress fracture. But the constant pounding of a college season took its toll, and the foot began bothering him a few weeks ago. He aggravated the injury, the medical staff is calling it a sprain, in the game against Georgetown and he did not practice Friday.
Napier remained in a walking boot when he went to the arena with the team, but he never went out on the court. He got treatment and went through various exercises backstage. He was finally ruled out about 15 minutes before start time.
"I still did treatment," Napier said. "Hopefully, I can play the next game, get ready for the next game. It was so difficult. One thing I don't like to do, I don't like to miss games. I've fought through a whole bunch of injuries, but this was one I couldn't do."
Napier, averaging 17.1 points a game, watched, and said he thought about "getting dressed at halftime," but he never did get out of the boot.
"It was a game-time decision," coach Kevin Ollie said. "We went down there [to the locker room] and he couldn't play. We were already prepared for it. We practiced without him yesterday, Shabazz is going to get back, he's going to get back healthy and hopefully fight for us over these last two games. If not, everybody's going to have to step up."
UConn had 15 turnovers, but as Ollie pointed out, they've had more in some games with Napier handling the ball. The Huskies had two fast-break points and one point off turnovers, areas where they really missed him.
Giffey Dislocates Finger
Niels Giffey, who has been the Huskies most valuable bench player, left the game in the second half when he injured his right index finger during a scramble under the basket. Giffey had X-rays, which revealed a "dislocation fracture," meaning that he both dislocated and fractured the finger. "I think he dislocated it, put it back in place," Ollie said. It was immobilized after the game, and Giffey, who played 13 minutes, was to be re-evaluated when the team got back to Storrs. … Omar Calhoun, whose right wrist has been bothering him more lately, was 1 of 7 from the floor. He tried to play without the wrist wrap in the second half. "Maybe it was superstition," Ollie said, when asked why Calhoun took off the wrap. … Near the end of the game, Ryan Boatright was fouled as he drove the lane and it appeared that there was goaltending involved. Boatright and Ollie wanted the shot to count and a foul, but the refs called it a foul on the floor and gave him just two shots. "What did they think, I was trying to run out of bounds?" Boatright said. "Even [the defender] was laughing, 'I got away with one.' Ah, the refs can't get every call right." Said Ollie, "I wanted three points, they saw it different. Next play." … Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin drew a technical foul in the second half. "Some people believe in [getting a technical to fire up the team], but I don't," Cronin said. "It's my first technical in two years. I'm not running around getting a bunch of technicals."