Palmer Misses Practice With Possible Concussion

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Kevin Pelton, | May 16, 2006
As she began to speak with the media after Tuesday's practice, Seattle Storm forward Wendy Palmer covered her lips. An elbow to the mouth left Palmer with two stitches and swelling in her lower lip, and the Storm did little to make her feel good about her appearance.

"Most of my teammates were saying, 'It's not that bad,'" said Palmer. "I give it to Anne (Donovan) and Lauren (Jackson) for keeping it real. Lauren was like, 'Whatever, your lip is huge. It's big and crazy-looking.' Anne came over and said, 'Your lip is huge.'"

"I still have a headache. I'm not the cutest thing to look at, but I'm okay."
Jeff Reinking/NBAE/Getty
On top of the busted lip, Palmer came out of the collision with a probable concussion. Still affected by a headache, she sat out of Tuesday's practice.

"I'm alright," Palmer said. "I still have a headache. I'm not the cutest thing to look at, but I'm okay.

"It's just annoying more than anything. Yesterday, I was trying to eat, which turned out to be impossible. I ended up biting my lip the whole time because it was so numb. I guess I'm reaping that today. I can't really open my mouth too wide. And of course, Barb Turner has no sense of sympathy and is trying to make me laugh at everything. It's just one of those things that happens."

Palmer was injured toward the later stages of Monday's practice. Looking to defend the middle, she picked up a member of the Storm's mostly-male practice squad when he turned and caught her flush in the mouth with an elbow.

"He wasn't swinging wild or anything; it just happened," explained Palmer. "It kind of connected squarely, hence the cut on the outside of my lip and the cut on the inside of my lip."

Palmer quickly went to have the stitches put in and for further examination, as it was initially feared she might have broken her jaw. Meanwhile, the practice player involved in the collision was left to worry about might have happened, leaving a message with Storm Director of Basketball Operations Missy Bequette, who coordinates the practice squad.

"He was all apologetic, I hear," said Palmer. "I saw him this morning, and I said, 'It happens. It's an occupational hazard. It's going to happen.' He felt really bad, but he didn't do it on purpose."

Going forward, Palmer is listed as day-to-day. She admitted that were this the WNBA Finals, she probably would have played through the aftereffects of the concussion, but with the regular-season opener against the Los Angeles Sparks (6:00 p.m., FSN, ) still five days away, there's no need to rush at this point.

Palmer's absence did continue to leave the Storm short of post players for practice. Starting center Janell Burse remains sidelined "week-to-week" with a partial tear in her left shoulder labrum, while training-camp invitee Lindsay Taylor did not work in the Storm's full-court session against the practice squad as she continues to deal with tendinitis in her right Achilles.

Along with Jackson, veterans Simone Edwards and Tiffani Johnson saw most of the action up front as the Storm worked against the practice squad Tuesday.

Assuming Palmer is back in time for the opener, she is expected to start should Burse be unable to go. Yesterday, Donovan said she would be "pleasantly surprised" if Burse is available on Sunday.

  • When on the court together, Storm reserve guards Shaunzinski Gortman and Tanisha Wright have split point-guard duties. However, Donovan expects Wright to handle most point-guard duties in this lineup during the regular season.

    "Two things - she's been here and she's more vocal than Shaun is at this point," explained Donovan. "I hope that changes for Shaun, but her personality is not so much the 'give me the ball and I'll take control.' T's is more that way. I think it's more like 70-30 when they're both out there together. If either one is out there with Sue (Bird), it's just great flexibility to have two point guards out there at the same time."