First-year Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve saw Seimone Augustus standing there during Monday's team practice, wearing uniform No. 33 as usual, and forgot for a split second what Augustus had endured recently.
Reeve ordered "Mone" onto the floor, at small forward, to participate in a drill.
Augustus had a shocked expression on her face. Other players started laughing.
"My bad," Reeve said. "She was just looking so ready to go."
She isn't. At Lynx media day Tuesday, Augustus said she will be out five more weeks. That means the WNBA Rookie of Year in 2006 and a two-time All-Star is expected to miss the team's first nine games -- or about one-fourth of the regular season.
Augustus had life-altering surgery on April 24, the day before training camp began. Three benign tumors called fibroids -- including one about the size of a baby's head and another of a grapefruit -- were removed, as was her uterus, at Fairview Southdale Hospital.
Augustus said she knew about the fibroids while in college at Louisiana State, but they were small and not growing. In January, though, her doctor told Augustus one of them was getting large and she would probably need surgery.
Augustus was hoping the surgery could be delayed until after the season.
It couldn't. On April 21, after a hard individual workout with Reeve and other Lynx staff members, Augustus started experiencing extreme pain. That night, she made a visit to an emergency room. She was in so much pain that she could not walk. Surgery was needed, and soon.
Her uterus was removed during the surgery, Augustus said, because it was enlarged and dying because of lack of blood flow. Doctors had warned her beforehand that was a possibility.
"They were able to save my ovaries, so I can use a surrogate mother to have a kid," said Augustus, who is not married. She said she is thankful for that because she wants children someday.
Augustus' mother, Kim, and grandmother, Mimi Sanders, both had surgery to remove fibroids and a close family friend died from an operation similar to hers.
"It was very scary," Augustus said. "Talking to my dad [Seymore] and hearing his voice crack on the phone, I felt uneasy."
The surgery went well and her parents arrived from Baton Rouge, La., two days later to help care for her and celebrate her 26th birthday last Friday after a year filled with trying times.
Augustus missed most of the 2009 WNBA season because of knee surgery. The 6-foot guard/forward was averaging 21 points when she tore the ACL in her left knee in the sixth game.
"I'm thankful that my knee rehab was over before this [second surgery] happened," she said. "It's a very intense process, a very emotional process."
"I feel bad for Seimone," Reeve said. "That was a player ready to go and ready to test her knee. [But] she is a strong person and I have a tremendous appreciation for what she has gone through and how she has handled it."
Augustus is already doing some minimal exercises in her second comeback, Lynx trainer Chuck Barta said. She's contracting and relaxing her stomach muscles, and light leg work for the reconstructed knee. "She will be fine," Barta said.
Augustus played well at a U.S. national team training camp in mid-April in Connecticut and in individual workouts later before the fibroids started causing her so much pain. "Coach [Reeve] was kind of amazed that my jump shot wasn't gone," Augustus said. "The main thing is conditioning, which is what I will probably struggle with once I get back."
Playing basketball again, Augustus said, will be the best therapy for her.
"That's like my safe haven," she said. "Once I am on the court, nothing else really matters to me. I am having fun, I am enjoying life doing what I love to do."