Amida Brimah will miss six to eight weeks of games due to a broken finger. The junior center will have surgery Wednesday to repair the injury, per a release from the school.
Brimah, the reigning American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, broke his third finger on his right hand during practice on Monday.
Brimah missed his first career game Sunday when UConn defeated UMass-Lowell, 88-79. It broke his streak of appearing in 84 consecutive games.
“As I said after the game on Sunday, Amida is one of the best defensive players in the country, so obviously not having him has a big impact on us,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. “But you never know when somebody can get hurt, which is why everybody always has to be ready to play.”
Losing Brimah will be a difficult challenge for the Huskies to overcome. He is the backbone of their defense. He led the nation in blocked shots a year ago and is averaging 3.0 blocked shots per game this season, good for ninth in the nation.
Look for forwards Kentan Facey, Phil Nolan and Steven Enoch to get more minutes in Brimah’s absence. Against UMass-Lowell, freshman guard Jalen Adams got the start in Brimah’s place, but it’s fair to anticipate Ollie to replace Brimah with another big man.
“Everyone will have to lift their level of play — the big men, of course, but our guards, as well will have to play better defense on the perimeter without Amida in there. We look at it as an opportunity for somebody to step up and have an impact on the game and the program. And I believe every player on this team has the capability to do that,” Ollie said.
UConn is next in action Wednesday when they host Central Connecticut at the XL Center. The Huskies open conference play Jan. 2 when they travel to New Orleans to take on Tulane.