JB Blog

Storm center Janell Burse is in her second season playing for USK Praha in Euroleague and the Czech League during the WNBA off-season. She'll periodically update Storm fans on her exploits.

Back on the Court for a Big Upset
Posted on Feb. 14, 2007

Hi Storm fans, it was time for another update from this side of the Atlantic.

USK Praha gets the win!
I actually played in my first game since breaking a bone in my foot. The game was Saturday against the "Czech giants" Gambrinus Brno. Our team had never beaten the Brno team and they were on a 9-year, 3-day winning streak in the Czech Republic. This is historical in European Basketball. The Brno Team had won 256 consecutive games. So naturally you can figure out who were the favorites!

I was really nervous before the game because I hadnít played in almost two months; but I prayed about it and the outcome was great. We upset Brno and won the game by two points in overtime. I had a double-double, 11 points and 10 rebounds. I did have a small scare right before halftime. I jumped up to grab a rebound and landed on the side of my foot. It scared me more than anything, because it was in the same area of the break, but I was able to play in the second half and in overtime.

It was a great game overall by both teams. Iím just so glad that in the end our side was victorious. Everybody in the building knew the significance of that win and what it meant to our club. It was a great feeling to win a big game and make history in my first game back. It was also great to see our team so happy after a disappointing season in the Euroleague. Hopefully this win and its momentum will carry us to win the Czech Championship. Outside of the hot shooting of Deanna Nolan, the Brno team isnít as tough as they were last season.

After the game we did a team appearance at a dance hall for children. Itís always nice to interact with the kids. Surprisingly, most of them spoke English - which was good for Grace and I! We couldnít celebrate long because the very next day we had to bus two hours away for another game. We won that game by 28 points, but it was extremely physical! The term "body check" means a totally different thing on this side of the ocean!!! Body check = WWE here!

Well thatís all thatís happening on this side of the world. I hope everyone has a Happy Valentineís Day!!! Eat some chocolate for me ;-)

Until next time ,

The happy victors celebrate the win.

'Pain Free' ... and No Boot!
Posted on Jan. 16, 2007

Hi! I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year's celebration. My time at home for the holidays was great. It was really good to see my family again and I was excited to be going home with the walking boot on my foot rather than the cast. I never in my career had anything in a cast before, so the whole removal process was quite scary for me. They used a saw to cut it off and the whole time I was thinking, ďOh my God, they're gonna saw my leg off!Ē But the only thing the saw really did was tickle my foot when it touched the skin.

Once they pulled the cast off I was shocked to see the condition my leg was in. Two words: hairy and ashy. I couldn't wait to get home and finally take a shower without the garbage bag tied to my leg! Oh, and of course, shave! I was instructed to still use the crutches with the walking boot because the fracture is still there and they don't want me putting a lot of pressure on it. When I got home my mom and dad treated me like a princess. They didn't let me lift a finger, and even gave up their master bedroom for me to use because it was downstairs. I think they both thought I was too clumsy on my crutches to handle the stairs everyday!

When I returned to the Czech Republic on Jan. 4 I had another doctorís appointment and the fracture was still visible on the X-rays. But don't worry, it's healing nicely. Now I don't have to use crutches; only the walking boot when I'm not working out. I love working out; I get to wear tennis shoes on both feet. I've been having really productive workouts and rehab sessions. I usually do a circuit of biking, shooting and foot exercises. And I repeat that four times. I love the shooting part of the workouts because I get to do some light jumping on my foot and it's a good feeling to be pain free.

Before I started working out the only time I would sweat would be when I was using my crutches. Grace was truly the best teammate you could have around while you're hurt. Even though I live about a block and a half from the gym she would pick me up in her car for practice. Now I know this sounds ridiculous, but believe it or not I would be tired from ďcrutchingĒ that short of a distance! I think my teammates thought I was crazy. When they had games and I didn't go to the gym early with Grace I would wear a tank top under my winter jacket in freezing weather so I wouldn't be too sweaty!

On Friday, Jan. 12, I was taken out of the boot and I should be able to start jogging soon. I can't wait. I miss playing so much right now. When people talk about taking breaks and not going overseas it's not only hard to do because of money, but it's hard to do because you miss playing. There's not any other job out there like playing hoops. Once you've been doing it for so long it's just something that's in you. Even if I was home right now, I would go to the gym and play pickup games.

Playing is just something that I love to do and injuries are just a part of it. I guess I've learned to love them, too. Injuries to me are mainly challenges. Every time you get injured it's always that question of, "What now?" Usually when you have something wrong with you people have the tendency to "sleep on you" and don't really count on you to come back from things as the same player you were before. That's where the challenge lies and at some point it becomes a mind over body situation. Whenever I'm injured it motivates me to come back better and I'm definitely looking forward to getting back on the court.

The Latest From Prague
Posted on December 14, 2006

Hi everybody, it's JB writing from the Czech Republic. One of the first things I wanted to say is a big hello to all the Storm fans! I arrived in the Czech Republic Oct. 20. My flight was really good. Usually I hate it when the time comes for me to leave for Europe, but this year things were different. Prague is truly an amazing city that I've learned to love, and one of my best friends Grace Daley is also playing with the team. It's good having Grace here. During our days at Tulane we didn't hang out nearly enough. Oh, while the subject of Tulane is up, I would like to give a shout-out to Dr. Burke from "Grey's Anatomy" for representing the Green Wave with his assortment of sweatshirts! Iíve been on a "Grey's Anatomy" marathon - constantly turning on the show and downloading episodes from iTunes. I'm finally caught up with the third season. I don't know what I'm going do with all of my time now. The cable in my apartment isn't very good. We only get a few NBA games every week, so that's really the only thing on television I have to look forward to. Okay, so you're probably thinking I've turned into a couch potato, but for good reason.

When I first arrived in Prague, my body was feeling great from the two months I took off. My shoulder was doing well thanks to some rehab and my legs felt strong. Everything was going great (except for the number of wins for our teams in Euroleague) and then I started having this nagging feeling in my foot. I thought it was just from me rolling my ankle or something, so I ignored it and kept playing and practicing on it. The one thing that made it different from normal foot pain was that the pain NEVER went away and only got worse. I didnít matter how many Advil or massages I had. Since the pain was getting worse and worse by the day and I didn't know what it was, I decided to go to the doctor. After the first X-ray they discovered a cyst on one of my foot bones. Then an MRI revealed a stress fracture. The cyst had formed around the fracture ... I guess it was my body's way of protecting itself from the break.

Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty
When I got the news, I really didn't know what it meant. I've never had a stress fracture before and up until that point my pain wasn't really keeping me from practicing or playing. Someone stepped on my foot during that game! I was in the process of sliding to play defense and felt it give a little. Needless to say, I didn't play any more in that game and was back at the doctor's office for another X-ray the next day. This time the fracture showed up in the normal x-ray not just the MRI, which means that I made it worse. The good news is that it should be about the same amount of time rehabbing.

Right now, I'm in a cast with crutches. The European crutches are so much worse than the kind they give you in the States. I can't even tell you how many times I almost injured something or someone else in attempting to use them ... lol. Hopefully, the cast will be off by the time I go home for the holidays. I can't imagine flying home with a cast on and Ginger (my toy poodle) in my carry-on. Sometimes she can get really fussy on the plane :-( Anyway, I should be back up and playing again by the middle of January, and I can't wait. The stuff I'm doing now in rehab is pretty cool. A lot of abs, core, and upper body strength exercises - which are good. Today was the first time in a couple of weeks I shot the ball with the cast on Ö lol. It was a lot of fun, and good for working on my balance.

The good news that comes from all of this is that another one of my old college teammates, Barbara Farris, is here. We've all been hanging out and it's really good to have people you know around. It's been like a little Tulane reunion. I've never been on a team with three Americans in Europe. Also, I've been hanging out with Kamila Vodichkova. She lives right outside of Prague and is doing her knee rehab here, so we've been meeting for lunch once a week. She's such a cool person! :-) Oh, and sorry if this is starting to sound like I'm giving shot outs on the, blog but Iíd also like to say hello to Elaine Powell, Deanna Nolan and Sophia Young (who are two hours away in Brno). It's always good to see them! Ah, I canít forget to say hello to my girls in Israel, T and Barb, and also Betty, who's doing a great job in Missouri with Habitat for Humanity. I donít want to forget Edwige and James in Samara. I miss everybody so much!

Until next time,