Storm PG Sue Bird underwent left knee surgery Thursday to remove a cyst. The procedure was a success, according to the team. Bird, 32, stated earlier she’d be on crutches for about six weeks as she begins rehabilitation in Connecticut. When she’s able to travel, she’ll return to Seattle to complete rehab and attend Storm games.
“I feel fine and am at home resting,” Bird said in a released statement. “Looking forward to being in Seattle with my teammates!”
Despite missing the 2013 season due to injury, Bird does count against the Storm’s maximum 11-player roster for the regular season and her guaranteed $107,500 salary counts against the cap. Veterans Tanisha Wright, Camille Little, Tina Thompson and second-year wings Shekinna Stricklen and Alysha Clark are the other players returning from the 2012 squad that finished 16-18, losing in the opening round of the playoffs to Minnesota.
Storm coach and GM Brian Agler signed PG Temeka Johnson to fill Bird’s starting position. Free agents in veteran G Noelle Quinn and post Nakia Sanford were also signed to possibly start. The moves technically leave two roster spots open, one likely to go to No. 6 overall draft pick Tianna Hawkins (Maryland). Agler has seven free agents in camp who he’s also evaluating.
Seattle will open exhibition play Sunday against Los Angeles at Long Beach State’s Pyramid. The season opener is May 26 at the Sparks’ Staples Center. The regular-season roster is due May 23.
LAKE BASH: Seattle’s annual “Stormin’ the Lake” is Saturday from 2-4pm at the Green Lake Community Center basketball courts. The entire active training camp roster and coaching staff is expected and will be available for pictures and autographs. The event will happen even if there’s traditional Seattle weather.
KICKED BACK: Agler gave the players an off-day on Thursday. He’s not really being kind. The team normally doesn’t practice four consecutive days, so the break was needed. Training camp will resume Friday with the addition of free agent Sam MacKay (Dayton).
PICK ME: A cluster of players around the Pac-12 and West Coast Conference will attend tryouts for various national teams this month.
Washington in-coming freshman PG Kelsey Plum and Washington State PG Lia Galdeira are two of USA Basketball’s 34 invitees to contend for 12 spots on the FIBA’s U19 World Championship Team. Trials will be held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo. from May 16-19.
Invitations to the trials were issued by the USA Basketball Junior National Team Committee. Eligible athletes must be United State citizens born on or after Jan. 1, 1994. Miami coach Katie Meier will head the team and be assisted by LSU coach Nikki Caldwell and Conzaga coach Kelly Graves.
“I am very excited and proud to represent both Washington State and our country while playing with and against some of the best players in the world,” Galdeira said in a released statement. The 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship will be hosted by Lithuania from July 18-28 in Klaipeda and Panevezys.
Meanwhile four other Pac-12 players accepted invites to participate in the 2013 USA Basketball World University Games team trials, USA Basketball announced Wednesday. California posts Gennifer Brandon and ReShanda Gray, USC post Cassie Harberts and Stanford PG Amber Orrange will participate in the trials May 16-19 also at the USOTC.
The 2013 World University Games is July 8-15 in Kazan, Russia.
Up north, Canada Basketball announced the players invited to attend the Senior Women’s National Team tryout. Incoming Gonzaga C Emma Wolfram and former wing Janelle Bekkering, who helped the Canadian ’s national team win bronze at the 2009 FIBA Americas Championships, are among the 29 invitees to participate at the May 17-19 tryout at McMaster University’s David Braley Athletic Centre.
GET MOVING: I’ve long wanted a 10-second backcourt rule in women’s college basketball. Well, as released Thursday, the NCAA could be moving into the 21-century. The Playing Rules Oversight Panel could adopt the time-limit when it convenes via conference call June 18, before becoming effective for the 2013-14 season.
Women’s intercollegiate basketball is the only level in the sport throughout the world that does not have a backcourt rule in place.
If adopted, the committee is also recommending that the closely guarded rule in the backcourt be eliminated from the rules book.
The closely guarded rule in the frontcourt would read that a player holding the ball for five seconds with a defender not exceeding six feet will be a violation. Previously, the defender had to be within three feet of the offensive player with the ball to force a 5-second violation.