UConn forward Morgan Tuck has been granted a medical hardship waiver for 2013-14 and will have three years of eligibility remaining.
Tuck, who would have been a junior this season, appeared in eight games last season before being sidelined. She underwent two surgical procedures on her right knee during the season but is expected to be ready for the start of the 2014-15 season.
"My knee has been feeling really good, but like anything else you just hope [the recovery] could go a little faster," Tuck said in June while working at Geno Auriemma's Fore The Kids charity golf tournament at The Hartford Golf Club. "I'm happy about where I am. Rosie [Ragle, UConn's athletic trainer for women's basketball] is telling me that I am right on track. So I am really happy."
Tuck averaged 7.5 points and 2.4 rebounds last season and scored a career-high 19 points in her final appearance, a 90-40 win over Houston on Jan. 7.
Tuck also missed UConn's games from Nov. 12 to Dec. 17 because of a procedure performed on the knee after the Huskies' win against Stanford, during which she scored 11 points in 18 minutes. After her initial return, she had 12 points in a win over California on Dec. 22 at Madison Square Garden.
She has taken her rehab process slowly, working her way from just running on a treadmill to taking on more diverse drills.
"The knee has been feeling really good. It feels just as good as my other knee does," she said. "I can't tell the difference when I am running. The only thing that feels differently is that I am more tired than usual, but that's because I am out-of-shape [from the inactivity]."
Tuck said she was happy with the decision to have surgery in January, even though it forced her to miss the majority of UConn's 40-0 run to its second-consecutive national championship.
"It was tough to sit out, but in the end it was worth it," Tuck said.
Tuck is expected to play a critical role on the team. The Huskies will be adjusting to the loss of All-American Stefanie Dolson and will not have her replacement, transfer Natalie Butler, a 6-foot-5 post from Georgetown, until 2015-16.
Senior Kiah Stokes will step into Dolson's starting role, while Tuck will likely be the first post player called to help her and junior Breanna Stewart, who is coming off her national player of the year campaign.
"I'm just excited again to be able to do what everyone else is doing," Tuck said. "I am looking forward to solidifying my spot on the team."
Tuck has had a history of injuries dating to May 2009 when she tore her left ACL during USA Basketball's U-16 trials in Colorado Springs, Colo.
She missed four games as a freshman with a bone bruise in the right knee. She averaged 6.4 points and 3.4 rebounds in 35 games.
"I know Morgan is going to come back confident," UConn senior Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis said at the Auriemma tournament. "Right now, she's working really hard. She's progressing just the way we thought she would, and I'm not worried about how she's going to come back or if she's going to be the same Morgan Tuck. I think she's going to come back great.''