Thursday, August 2, 2007

Burse to Undergo Surgery

Just before the media was brought in to Thursday's Storm practice, a release was handed out indicating what you have probably already read: Storm center Janell Burse will be undergoing surgery to repair torn ligaments in her left wrist on Aug. 14.

As you may have noticed, today is not Aug. 14 - in fact the Storm has five games between now and then, when Dr. Carleton Keck is available to perform the surgery. Burse is planning to play in those games, though she remains day-to-day.

"I just think it depends on coach and how I'm performing when I'm out there," Burse told reporters before joining her teammates on a bus headed for the airport as the Storm travels to Sacramento. "I'm not going to ask for less minutes. I'm just going to try to play through it and see what happens."

Still, the Storm will definitely be without Burse for the last two games of the regular season and into a potential playoff run. Wendy Palmer and Ashley Robinson will share the center spot, though Storm Head Coach Anne Donovan said she hasn't yet thought about who will start and her eventual rotation.

Palmer and Robinson rotated at center at the end of the Storm's practice against its male practice squad after Burse was sidelined when she pushed off with the wrist and "felt it give."

Looking down the road, Shyra Ely's ability to play power forward - especially against smaller opponents like Phoenix - will come in handy to give the Storm depth up front. Donovan said the Storm could add a 12th player as a free agent.

In the short term, the Storm's big concern is Sacramento and trying to get a win against a Monarchs team that has won the first two matchups this season. Donovan led her team through a lengthy practice after taking Wednesday off and exhorted the practice squad to play with the same kind of defensive intensity the Storm will face in Sacramento.

"The good thing about playing them again," said Donovan, "is we get a chance to learn from the game, learn from the video, learn from practice today and then apply it."

The offensive rebounds which the Monarchs have piled up against the Storm - 33 in two games - were a natural topic of discussion.

(Though, as an aside, let me note that the Storm's performance on the offensive glass Tuesday, with just four offensive boards, was actually worse from the perspective of percentage of available rebounds than the team's defensive rebounding.)

Anyways, Donovan pointed out that the issues start with the Storm's perimeter players, who have to contain their opposing numbers. Too often Tuesday the Storm was beaten off the dribble and got out of position rotating defensively.

The Storm's post players did a good job of offering help - Lauren Jackson had seven of the team's 11 blocks - but the team struggled to "help the helper" - bring another player in to replace the one stepping up to help. That left Rebekkah Brunson, in particular, alone on the offensive glass. She grabbed nine offensive boards all by herself.

We'll see tomorrow if the Storm can learn from those mistakes and get a much-needed win.

1 comment:

weirdwoods said...

Go Ashley. Play under control and focused and show everyone what you can do. I hope you start and show on the Tip off how high you can sky. Maybe as a starter Ashley will get some respect from the refs and not have all those cheap calls go against her. We love you too Wendy. Ashley, thanks for the headband.