The Storm will be without PG Sue Bird tonight due to a sore neck. The All-Star took hard hits against New York (screen) and Washington (defense) during the road trip, but after tumbling to the ground in Washington, Bird said she was fine.
Only this morning Bird (pictured right) woke and stretched, saying she heard a soft crack in her neck. She’s walking around like a robot and the pain is obvious.
“My teammates, they can kind of tell that I can’t really move, so they’re all making fun of me, which is expected,” said Bird, who hasn’t missed a game this season. “I’m not worried about it, it just sucks that it happened on a game day.”
Bird has had the injury occur twice while playing overseas in Russia, most recently this past winter. She said the remedy is a mixture of ice and heat. Her national team doctor is in Minnesota, so he’ll evaluate her, but Storm coach Brian Agler is going to wait until the team returns to Seattle on Sunday for a definitive decision about how long Bird will be out.
PG Shannon Johnson will start in place of Bird. Even though the Storm have just eight players available, Agler said the team cannot add another via a seven-day contract without making a cut, which Seattle will not do.
“There’s no use to try to force something to happen here,” said Agler, whose team has clinched a playoff berth, but needs one win or Los Angeles loss to secure at least second in the West. “It’s usually a two or three-day thing that ends up going away. We’re not going to put her at risk.”
Minnesota, which needs to win in order to keep its playoff hopes alive, is without C Nicky Anosike, who is out with an injured left knee.