Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson has been sidelined by a sprained left ankle that she suffered during the first half of Wednesday night's loss at Seattle. She is expected to be out for two weeks, which takes the Lynx to the final weekend of the WNBA regular season.
Brunson has averaged 10.7 points per game this season and was second on the Lynx to Sylvia Fowles with seven assistsper game. She was one of four Lynx players selected to the WNBA All-Star Game in Seattle last month.
Brunson is the second Lynx starter to be injured in recent games. Lindsay Whalen broke her right hand against Atlanta and is not expected to be ready until the playoffs. The Lynx have lost three of four games without Whalen in the lineup, and will try to change course when they play Indiana on Friday night at Xcel Energy Center.
The recent slide is concerning for the Lynx because of the battle to secure a prime WNBA playoff spot. Eight of the league's 12 teams make the postseason, but the top two teams are automatically seeded into the semifinals, and don't have to play in the first two rounds. Teams that are seeded No. 3 through 8 play a series of elimination games with two of those teams reaching the semis.
Currently, the Lynx have a two-game lead over Los Angeles for the best record in the league. Minnesota has eight games to play; Los Angeles has six. The teams have split their regular-season games with one more scheduled for August 27, which would be the best-record tiebreaker if the teams have the same record when the season ends on September 3.
Connecticut has the third best record in the league, trailing the Lynx by 3 1/2 games with seven to play. Being seeded into the semifinals also would get the Lynx more than a week of rest because those games are not scheduled to begin until September 12.
A quick summary of the team's problems is in Rachel Blount's preview of the game against Indiana: "The Lynx (21-5) have lost their past two games — their first consecutive losses since June 24-29, 2016 — and are 1-3 in their past four. Their offense has gone suddenly cold; after averaging 86.2 points over their first 24 games, they averaged 62.5 in losses to Seattle on Wednesday and Los Angeles last Friday."