Sunday, May 4, 2008

Burse's Status 'Up in the Air'

What figured to be a fairly uneventful media session with Storm Head Coach Brian Agler after today's open practice took a turn when Agler was asked about Janell Burse's timetable to return to training camp.

"Still up in the air on that," said Agler. "I think we're going to probably make an announcement coming up about her situation this season. We're still in dialogue with her and her agent. That's really all I can say right now."

Later, Agler was asked if injuries could be a factor in Burse's situation.

"Possibly," he said. "I think her health is a question right now, is probably the best way to put it. I know she's been out the last few games over there, hasn't played. We're just going through some dialogue with her and her agent and we'll probably come to some conclusion in the next couple of days."

Burse has dealt with multiple injuries in recent years, including a partially torn left shoulder labrum and torn ligaments in her left wrist that required surgery last August. But, according to Agler, the biggest issue might be an injury that I'd almost forgotten. In the winter of 2006, Burse sat out a couple of months with a stress fracture in her foot. (Burse blogged about it here.) Agler indicated that injury was a Jones fracture and that it remained problematic.

"I don't know if that's totally healed yet," he said. "I think that's been the issue here of late."

- The Storm got good news Saturday on veteran Sheryl Swoopes, who went down early in Friday's game at Sacramento with what doctor's initially feared was a dislocated shoulder. Further examination revealed no damage to her shoulder and Swoopes was diagnosed with a less-serious strained neck. Swoopes did conditioning work on the sidelines Sunday, but did not actively practice.

"She still has quite a bit of pain in her neck," said Agler. "She strained some nerves there, so she's day-to-day right now. She might be back more active tomorrow, but it might be again until Tuesday. But she'll be in there this week sometime, so that's the good news."

- Sunday was the first time Agler met the media following the Storm's first two preseason games. The early exhibitions helped give the coaching staff an idea of where the team is two weeks away from starting the season.

"We're probably like a lot of people in this league - we've got a ways to go offensively and defensively," Agler said. "Part of that ways to go is evaluation of individuals. In about two weeks, we've got to get down to our number, which will be 11 - probably. I thought after the first night that our defense was farther ahead than our offense. I thought we got much better offensively the second game, but then I saw that we needed to improve our defense. I think a lot of it has to do with our conditioning, both physically and mentally - being able to sustain possessions."

The Storm will have six days to practice before closing out the preseason Saturday against Indiana. It's an important stretch, Agler noted, because it's the last week the Storm will have without having to prepare for a specific team.

- Two Storm players, Roneeka Hodges and Kelly Santos, got in their first practice since joining the team in Sacramento. Agler was encouraged by what he saw from Santos, who last played in the WNBA with Detroit in 2002. Santos had little time to pick up the system before being thrown into practice, but showed good touch in the paint.

"I thought Kelly gave us some good things out there," said Agler. "I was sort of impressed. (Assistant Coach) Nancy (Darsch) worked with her a little in pre-practice today and gave me the thumbs up. First impressions have been real positive.

"Roneeka, she's right there with a number of people that are fighting for those last couple of shots, so we'll see."

- The next Storm player in camp will be guard Tanisha Wright, but her status remains up in the air even after her season concluded in Israel last Thursday.

"We're expecting her tomorrow, Tuesday, Wednesday, sometime," Agler said. "It's sort of been a struggle, honestly.

"We've talked quite a bit with her agent - he's had a hard time talking with her. They've delayed her payment. It's a number of issues that have come up here of late that have delayed her arrival in Seattle, which has been frustrating. But we'll just keep moving forward."

1 comment:

Sheila said...

What are the salary cap implicaitons if JB does not play this year. She signed a contract as a cored player so should make $95K plus the core bonus. Will the team have to pay her salary if she does not report? If her salary does not count against the cap, would the team be able to carry more than the previously stated 11?