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Azzi Fudd’s father defends UConn training staff as injuries pile up

Injured UConn players Jana El Alfy, Ayanna Patterson and Azzi Fudd watch UConn's win against Maryland on Nov. 16. (M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Azzi Fudd’s family couldn’t quite believe it when she told them that she had torn her ACL and would miss the rest of the season for UConn basketball.

“I was in a state of devastation for her,” her father Tim Fudd told CT Insider. “She’s worked so hard to get herself right and to have this now happen again, it’s like, ‘Dang, like, she has worst luck with stuff in this.’

“We felt like she had gotten over these stupid injuries and like all of a sudden, she calls and it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh. What is it? Why does this keep happening?’”

Fudd tore the ACL and meniscus in her right knee during practice on Nov. 14. So after playing just two games for the Huskies, Fudd will miss the remainder of the 2023-24 season.

The No. 1 recruit in the class of 2021, Fudd has struggled with injuries throughout her three years at UConn. A foot injury in her freshman season kept her out of 11 games, and a knee injury last season had her absent from 22 games.

And Fudd is not the only UConn player to struggle with injuries over the last two seasons. Paige Bueckers tore her ACL and missed her junior season before returning for the 2023-24 campaign. Freshman Ice Brady also missed last season with an injury. And that’s not accounting for the time missed by other players throughout last season; at one point, UConn had to postpone a game due to a lack of available players.

And with Fudd and Jana El Alfy out for this season, the injuries have raised questions about the Huskies’ support staff. WNBA star Diamond DeShields posted on social media after Fudd’s injury: “Who the strength coach there …? Cuz WTF.”

But Tim Fudd quickly came to the defense of Andrea Hudy, the director of sports performance for UConn women’s basketball.

“It has nothing to do with the strength coach,” he tweeted Friday. “She is actually really good. These injuries are the flukiest things I’ve ever seen. Things have occurred that you would see in some rare occasions.”

Hudy and the UConn staff have been focusing on limiting injury risks through different pre-rehabilitation workouts and data studies on each individual athlete. The Fudds met up with Hudy in the Cayman Islands to discuss how best to help Azzi moving forward.

“You can’t control every scenario, right?” Azzi’s mother Katie Fudd told CT Insider. “You can prepare their bodies but there’s nothing you can do to manipulate situations to keep everyone safe but there’s nothing you can do to manipulate situations to keep everyone safe and healthy. You know, it’s kind of like driving down the street. You might be the best driver in the world, but you can’t control a bad driver, right?

“She (Azzi) really likes Hudy and really trusts her. And we do too. I think she’s taking the time to get to know us and let us get to know her a little bit so that we have that trust and respect. And we’re confident that they’re gonna get her where she needs to be. I don’t have any doubts about that.”