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Storm Nears Full Strength for Final Two Games

Kevin Pelton, StormBasketball.com | Sept. 20, 2012

The Seattle Storm should be close to full strength for Friday's home finale and celebration of Fan Appreciation Night against the San Antonio Silver Stars (7:00 p.m., 1090 AM, ). Storm star Lauren Jackson went through a light walkthrough on Thursday, then scrimmaged with teammates and members of the practice squad to test a strained left hamstring that has sidelined her the last three games.

Lauren Jackson has played in seven Storm games this season.
Neil Enns/Storm Photos

Jackson should return to the lineup Friday for the Storm's final home game of the regular season.

"I felt so much better," said Jackson, who visited a specialist Tuesday and had a shot to relieve nerve pain. "I feel a thousand times better than I did the last couple of weeks. Already, I feel like I'm shooting better because I'm not compensating. Obviously, I was feeling it a bit."

Assuming Jackson's hamstring responds as expected tomorrow, she will be back on the floor against San Antonio, playing limited minutes during the Storm's final two games of the regular season.

"I think we'll have a specific number in mind that we'll want to keep her at," said Head Coach Brian Agler. "Probably it will be a little more on Sunday than it is on Friday. It's almost like a budget. You use her for short amounts of time in multiple quarters."

Agler wants to see Jackson play alongside the rest of the Storm's starters, though he did not commit to using Jackson as part of the starting five.

It's possible the Storm could all have 11 players healthy and active for just the sixth time this season. The Storm is 3-2 so far in those games. The remaining question mark is guard Svetlana Abrosimova, who suffered a sprained left wrist during Tuesday's win over Chicago and is considered day-to-day.

Whether Abrosimova plays or not, the last two games are an important opportunity for the Storm to build on two positive performances at home.

"I think we just want to start get in a little bit of a flow, a groove," said Storm point guard Sue Bird. "Obviously it's been some people out here, some people out there, so it's not always easy to do that. I think starting tomorrow, hopefully we'll have everybody back and we'll hopefully have a chance to build some momentum going into the playoffs."

Jackson wants to do that individually. Her hope is "Some momentum for me personally. Just get back to being my normal self. It's a couple of games and then we've got some practices next week to get in the flow of things."

A week away from the start of the postseason next Friday at Minnesota, the Storm must take advantage of every game and practice between now and then.

"I think every minute we play is important," Jackson said. "We're starting to see signs of really good things for the team. Having everyone back on the court is going to be huge."

"In a lot of ways, because you don't have a lot of practice time and because you want to save people's legs, the game's a great time to get ready and almost use it like practice time," added Bird. "That being said, it's not like we can go out there and mess around. It's still a game and San Antonio's still a tough opponent."

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