It was just practice, but Lindsey Harding stood at the top of the key, waving her hands, calling for the ball. Then she powered through 10 or 12 wind sprints down the right side of the court, when nearly everyone else was gone.
Harding suffered a stress fracture in her left kneecap when playing for Team USA on April 24 against China. After a month-and-a-half absence -- and a 22-game absence from the Lynx -- Harding is ready to play.
The second-year point guard and former women's college player of the year played in her first full practice Wednesday. Coaches and staff say it likely will be at least a week until she plays in a game.
Harding, the No. 1 pick in the 2007 WNBA draft, missed the last 14 games of her rookie season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the same knee.
"Whenever you sit out for any reason, [you need] to get back into game speed," Harding said. "Sometimes you throw the ball and it just doesn't go as far as you think it should. So it's just getting your timing back."
Head coach Don Zierden awaits Harding's return, but admitted that given the team's 6-2 start this season, she'll have to find a way to jibe with her teammates.
"We have really good chemistry right now," Zierden said. "So it's going to be very important that Lindsey's going to fit into what we do and she accepts her role."
Harding knows she'll find her groove.
"[Lynx teammate] Anna DeForge came up to me and says, 'We gave you a little cushion, so hurry up and come back,'" Harding said.Etc.
• Seimone Augustus, a two-time All-Star guard, on her career-high 10 assists in Tuesday's loss to Connecticut: "That's a good thing, at least. I wasn't hitting [Tuesday], and I tried to distribute the ball and get my teammates involved."
• Lynx coach Don Zierden, on Minnesota going 1-11 against tonight's opponent Sacramento in the past 12 meetings: "[Sacramento] has been a difficult team for us. They are very, very good defensively and they play very physical, even more physical than Connecticut did. It's going to be a very physical game. It's our fourth game in the last six or seven days. You have to take a look at the schedule, exactly what it is. It's going to be important for us to play with energy the best we can."
Staff writer Roman Augustoviz contributed to this report.