Phoenix Mercury center Nicole Ohlde began practicing this week after being sidelined with a broken bone in her left foot. The injury occurred in early during the final game of the season with her European team where she was teammates with fellow Mercury Kelly Mazzante.
Here's the audio from media day with Nicole talking about the injury and her trade to Phoenix.
The Mercury's hope in trading fan favorite Kelly Miller for Nicole was to shore up the interior with Ohlde's combination of size and mobility. Nicole is quite a bit taller then Le'Coe Willingham and more of a traditional post player then Tangela Smith who missed time last season with a knee injury. Her presence in the line up will allow the Mercury to match up better against some of the centers around the league without giving up offense. That's the hope anyway which has yet to be proven on the court.
In practice today, Nicole was allowed to do "full weight bearing activities" but still isn't cleared for contact. She ran drills with the bigs but didn't take part in any of the 5 on 5 or full court fast break action. She seemed to be moving well with no visible signs of a limp or pain and she clearly was happy to be on the court if her huge smile was any indication. She said before Wednesday's game against the NY Liberty that she was anxious to "take the reigns off and get back out on the floor".
The team doctor puts the time table for a full return at 1 to 2 weeks if she continues to progress.
In other Mercury news:
- Team co-captain Diana Taurasi turns 27 today
- Tameka Johnson had a couple of fingers taped after bending them back late in the game against the Liberty. She practiced at full speed and Coach Gaines didn't anticipate any issues
- With the back to back set against the Monarchs Friday and Saturday Gaines will try and keep his starters' minutes to under 30. That applies mainly to Cappie, Diana and Tangela who are logging 33 to 35 mpg so far
- Corey said that could mean more minutes for Brooke Smith and Allie Quigley but that he was going to try and win the game Friday so the situation would dictate his rotations
- The Monarchs are 0-2 and will be hungry for a win on their floor. Gaines described them as a defensive oriented team that plays hard. He felt that if the Mercury matched their energy level that his team would be successful
- A trend worth watching is the impact rookie DeWanna Bonner is having on the glass. She leads the team with 8 rebounds per game to go along with the team's 3rd best 14.5 points
- Given DeWanna's small frame this is impressive if she can continue the trend. She uses her activity and length to her advantage along with great hands and a nose for the ball.
- If Ohlde comes back strong to shore up the center spot depth and Bonner continues to deliver at the 4, the Mercury will go from one of smaller and least effective front court rotations last season to having a strong and mobile unit that will give Coach Gaines a variety of options
- Almost forgot...word is that there will be another "major announcement" involving the WNBA commish this time coming out of the Connecticut Sun
- The "W" is saying that the technical issues with the live web streaming have been fixed so tune into wnba.com to see the Merc play Friday on the road