UConn's Kevin Ollie suffers eye injury
STORRS, Conn. -- Recently retired 13-year NBA veteran Kevin Ollie's debut as a Connecticut Huskies assistant coach is on hold after a freak accident nearly cost him his vision in his right eye.
Ollie was stretching with the team before Wednesday's practice when a band snapped back and struck him in his eye. Ollie said he walked off the court, went into a locker room and saw that his eye was filling up with blood. He said he couldn't see initially out of the eye. He then went to see his doctor off campus.
"Slowly the vision is getting better than what it was and now it's just blurry. It could have been a lot worse," Ollie told ESPN.com Friday afternoon by phone from his home in Glastonbury. "I've never been hit like that."
Ollie was ordered by his eye doctor Friday afternoon to be on bed rest to ensure that the pressure in his eye doesn't rise. Ollie was supposed to make his coaching debut on Jim Calhoun's bench Friday night as Connecticut hosted Stony Brook. He will visit with his doctor Monday or Tuesday to see if he can get cleared to coach against Vermont on Wednesday or go on next week's trip to the Maui Invitational.
"The vision is back to where it's blurry and it's getting better, but the blood has to drain," Ollie said. "Every day the vision is getting better."
Ollie said his doctor is concerned about him making the trip to Maui on Nov. 19.
"There is a concern that the pressure flying that many hours could cause an issue with my eye," Ollie said. "I'm not going to take a chance on a 12-hour flight if that's the case. It's a crazy way to start my career."
Ollie agonized over retiring and opting to return to his alma mater. He had been in Oklahoma City last season, serving as a mentor to the young Thunder lineup. He could have stayed with the Thunder in some capacity, likely in the front office, according to Calhoun.
Ollie, a popular former player and charitable person in the area, is considered a potential heir apparent to Calhoun when he decides to retire. His addition to the staff has been a boon for the Huskies in recruiting and could be instrumental in possibly landing one of the top big men in the class of 2012 in Andre Drummond of St. Thomas More (Conn.).
Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.