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May 5, 2008 at 7:13 AM

Burse update: Center expected to miss part of season

Janell Burse is the latest player to fall to injury overseas and miss their WNBA campaign. According to her agent, Boris Lelchitski, Burse is returning to Houston from Prague on Tuesday and will not immediately join the Storm because of her shoulder and Jones fracture in her foot. Lelchitski said the center has been “debating about taking some time off and this is the time [she’s] going to do it.”
“She got hurt again,” said Lelchitski of what happened between the Storm announcing Burse’s signing on April 13 and then alluding to her not returning on Sunday. “If this season is possible for her to come back, that we’ll probably know in a week to 10 days. I don’t have an exact date. Janell will have to make it depending on her condition plus it’s also going to be an issue with the team — if they would want her to come back.”
Burse has played in Prague the past three seasons. But she’s had nagging injuries for about five seasons, most notably a partial tear in her left shoulder suffered in 2006 and undergoing left wrist surgery in 2007. While playing in Czech Republic, Burse discovered a stress (Jones) fracture in her foot in December 2006.
Burse, Seattle’s starting center in 2007, wore a cast for the foot injury but only rehabilitated the shoulder, opting not to have surgery, which Lelchitski said “takes more than that” to really correct the injury. Whether Burse now has surgery remains in question.
Although signed, Burse will not count against the Storm’s salary cap. Players have to pass a physical in order to sign their actual contract.
There were also cap issues with Burse returning anyway, but now the Storm will have more money to find a replacement post for Seattle. The team is already trying out Brazilian F Kelly Santos and C Ashley Robinson. Coach Brian Agler likes to play “tweener” type small/power forwards inside, using their three-point shooting to stretch the defenses out. Agler will also rely on Yolanda Griffith, but she’s recovering from injuries and in the twilight of her career.
“The truth and reality is that unfortunately all of the players have to go overseas to make their living,” Lelchitski said. “This makes a non-stop season and Janell has been doing that for quiet a while. It’s kind of hard to do this, especially when you have injuries following you. At some time players decide this is the time to take a break and this is her turn. She felt like she was not able to give to the team what they expected her to do.”
Lelchitski said the team is understanding of Burse’s situation. At practice on Sunday Agler, who cored Burse to prevent her from negotiating with other teams as an unrestricted free agent, appeared upset at Burse’s situation.



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