Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Swoopes Battles Sore Left Knee

Storm guard Sheryl Swoopes came off the bench during Tuesday's win at Sacramento, the first time this season she has not been in the starting lineup. After injuring her right knee in practice last week, Swoopes has been dealing lately with swelling and soreness in the other knee.

"It feels a little better, but it's bothering me," Swoopes said after working out Wednesday following practice. "It's just one of those things. I tried to warm up and it wasn't feeling very good. If I can't go out there and give 100 percent where I feel like I'm going to help the team, it's better for me to sit and be the best cheerleader I can be - which is what I kind of had to do last night. Taking yesterday off and coming back and doing a little bit of stuff today, it feels better than it's felt in a couple of days. Hopefully I'll be able to go tomorrow."

There's no structural damage to Swoopes' knee. Her suspicion is that it's simply fatigued a little over halfway through the season. Only playing 10 minutes against the Monarchs should help, and after Saturday's game the Storm will have five days off. Swoopes will get far more rest when the WNBA breaks for the Olympics at the end of the month.

"I said the other day that the break can't get here soon enough for me personally," she said. "I think it's tired and to be able to take a couple of days off is probably what my whole body needs."

Tanisha Wright stepped in to make her third start of the season, each in place of a different player. Wright had 11 points, a season-high six assists and five rebounds in a season-long 34-minute outing. She was one of five Storm players to score double-figures.

"She's played exceptionally well this season," said Swoopes, "regardless of whether she's starting or coming off the bench, how many minutes she's playing. Offensively and defensively, she's played really well. It's not like I felt like we were losing anything with her starting."

While Storm Head Coach Brian Agler would prefer to have Swoopes available, he's comfortable going with Wright if Swoopes is unable to play Thursday when the Storm hosts Phoenix on Kids Day (12:00 p.m., 1150 AM KKNW, TIX).

"If (Sheryl's) able to go, then she'll start," said Agler. "If not, we'll go with Tanisha."

Tomorrow's Noon start will present a change from the Storm's usual routine.

"I think they're good for the league," Agler said of kids days around the WNBA. "You get a different demographic - I'm sure we'll have a lot of kids in there tomorrow and exposed maybe to their first WNBA game. That's good. I think it's good from a player and coach standpoint that you don't have to sit around all day worrying about the game. It just hits you right off the bat. It's different and you're always concerned about how you prepare."

That's the downside for the Storm, which got to The Furtado Center at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon after flying in from Sacramento. That left time only for some film and a walkthrough. The early start means no opportunity for a pregame shootaround.

"If we didn't play yesterday and had yesterday and today (to practice) and then played at Noon on Thursday," said Agler, "that would be great."

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