Even before the season began the injury bug was proving to have quite the appetite in the camp of the Connecticut Sun as veteran forward Asjha Jones made the decision to take the entire 2013 season off to recover from a variety of ailments and underrated wing Danielle McCray would also be sidelined for the entire season due to an injury she suffered playing overseas. However, that was just the tip of the iceberg.
If there was one image from last night's Sun/Washington Mystics game it was seeing Renee Montgomery, Kara Lawson and Tan White all in street clothes unable to play. Predictably, down the stretch the Sun struggled offensively without three of its best perimeter offensive players.
If you include Jones, McCray and Jessica Moore (who was not re-signed and promptly was picked up by Washington) the Sun played without players who accounted for 52 percent of the team's offense during the 2012 season and made 172 of the team's 199 3-pointers.
The good news is that Lawson's injury is considered to be day by day and there is a chance she will be back when the Sun return to action on Wednesday with a game at Indiana. However, Montgomery and White likely won't be back until next month.
Montgomery suffered a high ankle sprain during a gruesome-looking tumble to court late in a loss to Chicago while White broke the middle finger on her right hand during practice earlier this week. Both are expected to miss at least three weeks.
Montgomery has not watched replays of the injury nor is she planning to.
"I got hit on the screen and I went down and it was bad," Montgomery said before Friday's loss to the Mystics. "When he (Sun trainer Jeremy Norman) came out, I didn't know what was hurt and I just said 'my leg' but it was a bad fall. I never missed a game in junior high, high school, college or pros.. This is the first time I had to miss a game before."
Montgomery realizes that the way that her leg bent backwards on the fall that she could have easily found herself on the sidelines for a much longer period than just three or four weeks.
"I feel blessed," Montgomery said. "I didn't go back and look at it but when it happened I knew it was bad. I could have been out the whole season the way the fall happened so I know I am blessed."
Right now Montgomery needs to stay off the injured ankle as much as possible. During games she will wear a walking boot but the rest of the time she will get around with the help of crutches.
White will be able to start doing cardio workouts in a couple of days. She is wearing a splint to protect her entire hand.
White said she was defending rookie Kelly Faris in practice and when Faris drove by, she swiped at the ball as she had done countless times during practices and games in her professional career. She missed the ball and made contact with Faris' arm. At first White thought she might have just jammed the finger but further examination the following day revealed that she had broken the finger. With her injury coming so soon after Montgomery went down left the Sun rather thin in perimeter options coming off the bench.
"It can happen on any team," White said. "It is not something that we planned to do intentionally but if you are playing the game these kinds of injuries come all the time. It is a bad situation to have both of us being out at the same time. It is what it is, mine is a short injury and hopefully I will recover and be back quickly.
"This is opportunity for everybody to step up because we need everybody to do a little extra and from here on until we get back and it is a great opportunity for these young players."
Faris is one of the young players who has impressed White especially with the way she played defensively against another former UConn star (Maya Moore) in the Sun's recent loss to Minnesota.
"She has responded well," White said. "At training camp she didn't get to play that much because she was injured but just to play such a tough team in Minnesota, she came out and showed defensively that she can be a stopper. I am excited to continue see her grow and have her put in a position where she can find a role here."
OPENING NIGHT FUNDRAISER A SUCCESS
The Connecticut Sun donated ticket sales from the season-opening win against New York to the American Red Cross to aid those impacted by the deadly tornadoes in Oklahoma.
The Sun doesn't want to make it look like they were engaging in a publicity stunt so there will be no ceremony with a check being presented to officials from the Red Cross but I was told last night that approximately $16,000 was raised.
MONTGOMERY THRILLED FOR FORMER HUSKY
Montgomery didn't cross paths with fellow former UConn point guard Jen Rizzotti that much during her time with the Huskies but she still admitted to feeling a sense of pride that Rizzotti is becoming the second former UConn player to be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame later today.
"I don't know if it is the culture that UConn has created but even if you haven't had much contact with somebody who is a UConn alum you still have this mutual understanding of friendship and camaraderie so I am happy for her and proud she is going into the Hall of Fame."