Freshman guard making progress

Updated: October 15, 2004, 12:38 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

UConn freshman point guard A.J. Price has been upgraded from critical to stable condition, a Hartford Hospital spokesperson confirmed Friday morning.

A source close to the program told ESPN.com that Price also has been transferred out of the neurological ICU as he continues his slow recovery from an intracranial hemorrhage.

According to the source, Price was able to watch Thursday morning's NBA exhibition game between Houston and Sacramento and seems on the road to recovery. It is hoped that the Huskies will be able to visit Price in the hospital on Monday or Tuesday.

"We would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers," Inga Price, A.J.'s mother, told Newsday in Friday's editions. "He is getting stronger and improving every day."

Despite the improvement, Price's overall prognosis remains unknown. Playing basketball isn't a topic for discussion. Going back to school isn't talked about, either. All the Price and Connecticut families and the university want is to see him continue the process of a full recovery that will allow him to leave the hospital in the near future.

"I don't care if he ever plays basketball again," Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said Tuesday night at a dinner in downtown Hartford for boosters who support his charitable summer golf tournament.

"That's not what we care about," Calhoun said. "Our goal is for him to get out of the ICU so the whole team could see him."

All but one day since Oct. 4, Calhoun has been at the hospital to sit with Price's parents of Amityville, N.Y., and sometimes with A.J. The players haven't been allowed to visit in the ICU.

"It's like he's been living there," assistant coach George Blaney said of Calhoun.

Calhoun looks understandably worn. Price's sudden and unexplainable illness has the whole program in shock.

Price developed flu-like symptoms Sept. 29. Three days later he had a headache that wouldn't go away. Team medical officials sent him for a CAT scan on Oct. 4, where the hemorrhage was discovered. He was flown by helicopter from Windham to Hartford Hospital. He had walked in on his own to get the CAT scan.

"The next thing we know, he had an intracranial hemorrhage," Calhoun said. "Since then, it has been nine days of hills and valleys and now, thank God, we're seeing some response."

Price, who celebrated his 18th birthday Oct. 7, had a pulmonary setback along the way, according to Calhoun.

"It could be weeks [before he's out of the hospital]," Calhoun said Tuesday. "He's young and he has shown improvement over the last few days. By the weekend, we'll know a lot more, since it would be 10 or 11 days out from the original incident. He was talking about the players [at Connecticut] and how the Yankees got [to the ALCS]. He's tired and given what he's been through he's slowly improving."

Before Calhoun talked to the assembled boosters Tuesday night, he had the fans give the Price family a standing ovation. When the night was over, he embraced the Prices before they left to go back to their hotel. Calhoun said he would be by the hospital Wednesday. He said he would continue to pray each day.

"The kids are caught in a tough place because they're so close to A.J.," Calhoun said. "He and Rudy [Gay] are tight and Antonio [Kellogg] is his roommate. We're going to have a talk with the kids [Wednesday after the Husky Run on campus] and talk about everything."

Calhoun said the Price family told him to stay with the team "because they said they need the season to be good."

"They have made this easier on me," Calhoun said. "... God willing, A.J. will step out of the hospital soon."

Information from ESPN.com senior writer Andy Katz was used in this report.

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