"When I woke up [Tuesday] I was in a lot of pain," Napier said at Gampel Pavilion on Thursday. "I'm having trouble sleeping some nights. But [trainer James Doran] is doing a great job getting me where I need to be. Hopefully, I'll be able to play."
Napier has a bruise on his left shoulder and has missed practice the past couple of days. After he was fouled by Peyton Siva with 16:13 left in the first half, Napier hit the floor and Louisville's Wayne Blackshear landed on him.
"He took a hard fall," coach Kevin Ollie said.
After the game Napier said he thought his shoulder was dislocated. He remained on the court though he was not himself in the second half, missing all six of his field goal attempts. Napier scored 12 points in the game, but 10 in the first seven minutes. Napier said in retrospect he probably should not have played in the second half.
"His shoulder came out of place a little bit," Ollie said on Thursday. "Everything is structurally fine, we got that straightened out. … There's not a lot of swelling. Hopefully, he'll be able to practice tomorrow and play [at Pittsburgh] on Saturday. But we want to give him a little rest."
UConn will practice late in the day on Friday after the team arrives in Pittsburgh, giving Napier a little more time to heal. Napier said his range of motion has been improving.
Napier is UConn's leading scorer, averaging 17.1 points, and its second-leading rebounder with 4.4 a game. He is also averaging 36.8 minutes, most on the team, so it's hard to imagine the Huskies without him. With 66 assists and 25 turnovers, his ball-handling skills would be critical against a Pitt team that plays aggressive defense. Napier leads the Huskies with 34 steals.
"If Shabazz is unable to play, or he is unable to play at the level we need him to be at, then someone will have to step up," Ollie said. "R.J. Evans will have to play a bigger role, Brendan [Allen] will have to be ready to come in. We'll have to find a way, like we've been doing all year."
Evans, a graduate student, averages 16.2 minutes and Allen, a sophomore guard from Windsor, has played just six minutes all season.
Ryan Boatright could do most of the ball-handling if Napier cannot play. Omar Calhoun, who had six turnovers against Louisville, would probably have to handle more in Napier's absence.
"They're going to challenge Omar to be ball-tough," Ollie said. "Every time he puts the ball down, they're going to challenge him."
Niels Giffey, who plays a lot of small and power forward, could get more minutes if Napier is out.
"Niels is important to us whether Shabazz is playing full strength or not," Ollie said.
Former coach Jim Calhoun will be among the honorees at Dick Vitale's Gala, which benefits the V Foundation for cancer research, at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, Fla., on May 17.
Vitale's event raised $2.1 million last year and $8.6 million since 2006 for pediatric cancer research and other programs. The V Foundation is named for former N.C. State coach Jim Valvano, Vitale's close friend, who died of cancer in 1993. Calhoun will be honored along with former Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden and Kansas basketball coach Bill Self. For more information, visit JimmyV.org/vitale.