Palmer Sidelined

Kevin Pelton, | June 5, 2006

The Seattle Storm will be without forward Wendy Palmer for at least the next four weeks after Palmer was diagnosed with a partially torn left Achilles tendon on Monday.

"She's very upset, disappointed," said Storm Coach Anne Donovan by phone on Monday afternoon. "She was hopeful today's news would be better. At the same time, we're fortunate it wasn't a total rupture, because then we wouldn't be talking about a return."

Palmer, who has been bothered by her Achilles off and on since the start of training camp, saw the pain worsen after finishing with 11 points and nine rebounds in Friday's 97-87 win over Phoenix. She sat out Sunday's loss to San Antonio and visited a specialist Monday, who made the diagnosis. Palmer will be in a boot for four weeks before being reevaluated, at which point her return to the lineup could be determined.

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"We lose tremendous rebounding, which was apparent last night already," said Donovan. "That is just her specialty. No one player will be able to fill that role - our perimeter will have to step up, along with Tiffani Johnson."

Signed over the off-season as a free agent to back up both frontcourt positions, Palmer started the Storm's first two games when Janell Burse was sidelined with a shoulder labrum injury before returning to the bench. She was the Storm's leading rebounder in the early season, averaging 7.6 boards per game (good for seventh in the WNBA), and had contributed 9.4 points per game with one double-double.

In Palmer's absence, veteran Johnson becomes the Storm's top post reserve. Johnson has averaged 2.8 points and 1.4 rebounds in 14.8 minutes per game, seeing action in five of the Storm's first six games. Palmer's injury also moves rookie center Cisti Greenwalt, signed as a free agent on May 27, into the fourth post spot. Greenwalt has yet to see action in a Storm uniform.

Palmer's leadership was also a key component of the Storm's decision to bring her to Seattle. To that end, Palmer will continue to travel with the team to provide a veteran voice in the locker room and on the bench.

"She will still be able to lead us as best she can from the sideline," said Donovan.