Storm forward Lauren Jackson arrived in time to participate in the All-Star practice with the West this afternoon. She had a second doctor’s appointment on Thursday, where her strained left Achilles tendon was evaluated. Given clearance, she noted that the area, which is actually just in front of the Achilles, was inflamed after playing 40 minutes in a triple overtime win against Los Angeles on Wednesday.
“I was like, ‘Holly crap, this is an amazing game to come back for,” said Jackson, who hadn’t practice in a week prior to playing. “There were stages where I didn’t think I would be able to run anymore. It was flaring up a little bit and yesterday I couldn’t walk. It’s one of those things that I have to try to look after and maintain.”
Jackson will start the All-Star game on Saturday, but West coach Dan Hughes has been briefed by Jackson, Storm coach Brian Agler, and doctors about her condition. Still, she may not limit herself.
“I’ll probably get out there and be like, ‘Don’t take me off!” Jackson said.
The teams had a playful practice before fans, which filled one side of the Mohegan Sun Arena (9,718-seat capacity). In between the East and West sessions, media were allowed to interview players which created an awkward moment.
The throng swarmed Phoenix All-Star Diana Taurasi, who was charged with three drunken driving offenses, including extreme DUI. As she spoke about the July 2 arrest and subsequent aftermath, the remaining All-Stars were lineup up on courtside seats with disgusted faces.
Public representatives tried to stop the questioning, but the reporters scoffed and pressed on. Taurasi never backed down or winced at the queries ranging from whether she still considered her self a role model (“I’m a human being”) to what she learned from the incident (“Twenty-twenty will change your life”).
Taurasi is one of five former University of Connecticut players representing the Huskies at the All-Star game, just minutes from the Storrs, Conn. campus.
“This is the state that was probably disappointed the most,” Taurasi said. “No one is taking it harder than me.”
Taurasi said she didn’t dread facing the media, her first extended session regarding the DUI. The team suspended her two games for “conduct detrimental to the team,” which she served prior to the break.
“I’m not going to go hide in a corner,” said Taurasi of not answering questions. “I’ve never done that in my life and I’m not going to start now…I’ve done a lot of good in my life. This thing is not going to define me.”
Taurasi signed autographs for a host of fans after the practice concluded.
Here are some links to good All-Star reading. I’ll have more in Saturday’s newspaper.
— On New York star Shemeka Christon, one of eight first-time All-Stars.