Notebook: Palmer Frustrated by Injury

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Kevin Pelton, | June 6, 2006
A day after finding out that she would be sidelined for at least the next four weeks by a partially torn left Achilles tendon, Seattle Storm forward Wendy Palmer met the media for the first time since the diagnosis.

"It's very frustrating," said Palmer. "I don't really have anything to say other than I spent the last two days pretty angry at the world, but the world didn't do it to me. It's just something that happens; it's unavoidable."

For Palmer, who is one of seven players to play in the WNBA all 10 seasons of the league's existence, this is just her second major injury. In 2001, Palmer missed 10 games with a second-degree hamstring strain. Since then, she had missed just three games in the last four years.

"I went for a loose ball and felt like something grabbed my ankle. I looked around; I knew no one was there."
Jeff Reinking/NBAE/Getty
Palmer assured reporters that she came to camp healthy, but was bothered at times by tendinitis in her left Achilles. During practice on Thursday, she partially tore the tendon and knew something was different.

"I went for a loose ball and felt like something grabbed my ankle," said Palmer. "I looked around; I knew no one was there. I knew it was something different. I definitely confirmed it Friday when I tried to play on it and it never warmed up."

Nonetheless, Palmer played through the injury against the Phoenix Mercury "Like the warrior that I am," scoring 11 points and grabbing nine rebounds in 17 minutes of action. Palmer missed Sunday's game and went to a specialist on Monday, where the partially torn Achilles was confirmed. She will spend the next four weeks wearing a boot on her left foot before being revaluated.

While being sidelined is bad enough for Palmer, what makes this injury more challenging is that she will be very limited in her conditioning over the next four weeks.

"I can't do any pool, I can't do any bike," she said. "I can lift, find one of those machines where I just use my arms, but other than that, it's a wrap. I think that's the most frustrating thing is I can't do anything."

What Palmer can do is continue to play the leadership role that was such an important part of what the Storm envisioned in signing Palmer over the off-season and has already through training camp and the early part of the season. She will continue to travel with the team, which embarks on a six-game road trip starting Friday in Connecticut.

"I guess I put on a cheerleading skirt now," quipped Palmer. "(My role is) just to help them out and be more supportive, give them encouragement. Road trips are tough - playing at home is tough - but road trips are tough because you're in that arena by yourself. It's you against them, you against their fans. I'll just try to be a positive voice, positive body on the bench, because I know what it's like to be out there on the floor."

Clear Sky

On Wednesday, the Chicago Sky visits KeyArena for the first time as an expansion franchise (7:00 p.m., KJR 950 AM, ). Chicago has started its inaugural season 1-5, but has been competitive and has gotten production from several players.

"We played them in the preseason, which helps," said Storm Coach Anne Donovan on Tuesday, "but they are a difficult scout because every one of them is capable offensively, every one of them is eager to prove themselves. It's more difficult. If you sleep in the post game, they can hurt you outside."

Chicago is a slightly different team than the one the Storm faced in a preseason game on May 12.

"From a personnel standpoint, (Bernadette) Ngoyisa is added," Donovan said. "She wasn't there with them when we played them. She's a big body inside that they definitely lacked. I think their strength is that they're very versatile, athletic and mobile. The knock on them is they don't really have big inside presence, and Ngoyisa fills that.

"Also, they're more settled. They've adjusted to his system and the roles a little more than they did in the preseason."

Replacing Palmer

Donovan continues to evaluate how her rotation will look in Palmer's absence. While rookie post Cisti Greenwalt did not see any action against San Antonio, Donovan is certain Greenwalt's time will come and spending extra time making sure that the Storm newcomer is ready for that opportunity.

"I'm focusing more on Cisti in practices, where before she wasn't my focal point," said Donovan. "Now she is. She's got to develop. It's very evident she's a college player who doesn't have WNBA experience yet, but she's got a good body, good skills, and we need to focus and coach her a little more so she can play for us, because we're going to need her. In the next month, there's going to come a game or two where she's going to have to get in there and give us some minutes."

The good news for the Storm is with a back-to-back set at Minnesota and Chicago looming next week, it appears that forward Lauren Jackson should be able to play without limitation.

"That's why we've been resting her all of the preseason, so that when we did get into back-to-back situations during the season, she'd be able to play," Donovan said. "If she's sore or there's a reason not to, of course we wouldn't do it. But that's why we've been doing what we've been doing with her."