Penny Taylor's Triumphant Return to the Court Couldn't Have Gone Any Better
There was a time when Penny Taylor thought her playing days could be over.
From 2009 to 2013, Taylor underwent ankle surgery, several knee surgeries and even sat out an entire year in 2012. Last season, her health allowed her to only play 10 games.
This year, after several years of injury, rehab and waiting, Taylor returned to the court at full strength once again and it couldn't have gone any better. Even Taylor can't believe her good fortune.
"I wasn't sure I'd ever get back on the court again," Taylor said before Game 2 of the Finals. "But through a lot of hard work and a lot of help from people, I'm able to be here and I couldn't be happier."
It wasn't an easy road back. Taylor's return to the Mercury was gradual; she played only 15-18 minutes in the first few months of the season as coach Sandy Brondello (a former Australian National Team teammate of Taylor's) wanted to be sure she was ready and wouldn't get injured again.
Taylor also received plenty of emotional support from the ever-present Mercury fans.
"Every time I go out there, I think about working to my absolute maximum to make them happy," she said. "I went through a really tough time and they didn't think twice about supporting me the minute I stepped back on the floor."
Taylor attributes her success this year -- and ultimately the team's success -- to how unselfish the Mercury team is.
"It's a huge help that these players have heart, and they play for each other," she said, out of breath after the championship winning game. "Whether it's taking a lesser scoring role in some games and whether it's being a defensive stopper like [DeWanna Bonner], or whether it's Diana making sure that everyone gets a touch of the ball.
"I just couldn't be happier."
As for now, Taylor says she's thinking about playing in the FIBA World Championships in Turkey, but her plans beyond that are nonexistent.
"I'm just happy I was able to get back out there and make it through this season," she said.
But with a season like the Mercury's and an incredible finish from Taylor herself, she did much more than just make it through the season, she made history.