Storm Q&A: Sue Bird
For the second consecutive year, Sue Bird spent her fall rehabbing from hip surgery. After having her right hip labrum repaired following the 2011 season, Bird had the same surgery on her left hip - which left her playing through pain late in the regular season and into the playoffs - in October. Bird is back on the court and scrimmaging against players at her alma mater, the University of Connecticut, in preparation for reporting to her overseas team (UMMC Ekaterinburg) at the start of January for the second half of the Russian and EuroLeague seasons. Bird checked in with StormBasketball.com to offer an update on her status.
StormBasketball.com: How has the rehab process been?
Bird: It's been good. Going through it last year, obviously I know what to expect. I'm back on the court now, so right where I'm supposed to be.
Is the timetable similar to last year?
This year was a little bit rushed because I had the surgery later than last year, but nothing that is detrimental. With surgeries like this and coming back when there's a timeline, you just have to listen to your body. I've tried to do that as best I can. Like I said, I'm back on the court. Now I'm just trying to get my conditioning back so I can feel good heading to Russia.
Are you rehabbing at UConn again?
Yeah. Same thing.
Neil Enns/Storm Photos
Sue Bird is working back toward full strength after undergoing hip surgery in October.
Is it good to go through that process in a comfortable place with familiar faces?
It's really helpful. They know me really well. They know how I play. The coaches have been great and helpful, especially Shea Ralph, who works out with me individually pretty much every day. Even when I do practice with the team, they know I'm trying to come back, so they're very caring. It's good to be around that.
How helpful is the opportunity to scrimmage against the UConn team?
It's great, there's no question about that. This is the closest I can come to being in an actual game. There's no other way to emulate it. It's really valuable for me and I'm really lucky that I have this available to be able to practice with them. They're very good.
On the flip side, sometimes it makes me feel tired and old because they're in tip-top shape midseason and here I am trying to come back. Sometimes it points out where your deficits are, but that's good because then I know what I need to work on.
How much do you interact with a new generation of Huskies?
It's just cool to hang out with them. I see them in the training room, I see them on the court. I like being around them. They're a great group.
Is it nice being in the U.S. instead of going to Russia before the holidays?
I was planning on going Dec. 1, so just a little bit earlier. It's cool. I've done this - I've been home the last couple falls. I think it's good for me. It's a good balance between playing my basketball season and also getting some time to see friends, see family. It works.
Have you gotten to spend much time with friends and family?
Oh yeah. One of the best things about being in Connecticut is I'm very close to both New York and Boston, which are two places that I have friends and family in, so it works out really well.
Are you following how Ekaterinburg is playing without you?
They're doing great. I think I might just go there and be on a Russian vacation because they're doing so well. They're undefeated and, from what I understand, playing really well. It's just a really talented team, and when we click I can imagine it being tough to beat us. I'm lucky that I get to join a team that's playing so well.
Are you looking forward to reuniting with Diana Taurasi?
Yeah, of course. She's a great player so being with her on the court is going to be fun, but she's also one of my closest friends, so being able to hang out and go through the overseas season with someone you're so comfortable with is a lot of fun.
Does it help for you to play with a Storm teammate in Ewelina Kobryn?
I think any time you've played with a player and you have established some sort of chemistry with them, it's always great to play with them again. Ewa is definitely a player who over the last two years I've become comfortable with. I'm very familiar with her game and we can play well together. It will be good to be teammates again.
Will you be limited when you head to Russia?
No, not at all. I'm not limited right now - I can play full court and do everything, so I can imagine in three weeks hopefully it will just get better for me.
How is playing different now than before the surgery?
The thing that's different is when you're playing with an injury, there's really no getting better. It generally just kind of gets worse. When you're coming back from an injury that's been repaired, you may start off with some aches and pains, some soreness, but it continues to get better. So even though today I might leave the gym and feel some soreness - generally it's muscle soreness - I know in a week's time I probably won't have that anymore. And a week after that, I'll feel even better. So it's definitely a big difference.
Are you excited to have the hip issues of the last two years behind you?
Yeah. Like I said, the best part is it's going to keep getting better. As good as I feel now, it's so motivating to now that I'm going to feel even better in a month and two months and so on. It's good to have it done.