As much as she could, Lindsay Whalen tried to stay involved. She couldn’t make a pass to a teammate, but maybe she could make a suggestion.
For more than a month, since breaking her left hand against Atlanta, Whalen has been trying to help while she healed.
Finally, she’s back.
Whalen returned to practice Wednesday, the Lynx’s first since clinching the No. 1 seed in the WNBA playoffs.
After practice ended, Whalen, tired but happy, said it went well.
“I feel good,” Whalen said. “Obviously I was excited today to be back at practice after being out for a while.
“Now it’s just getting back into the flow and the rhythm and everything.”
To coach Cheryl Reeve, Whalen looked pretty good right away.
“She had a great practice today,” Reeve said. “Her vision was really good, her patience in what she was doing was really good. I suspect she probably feels like she didn’t play all that well because she hasn’t done it in a while. And she is her toughest critic. But she had a nice practice. She was just Lindsay.”
The Lynx were 20-2 with Whalen, 7-5 without her, including a 4-5 record in the first nine games after she was hurt.
On Wednesday, Reeve tried to downplay the idea it was all because of Whalen being hurt. It was a difficult stretch of schedule and other players didn’t always play their best. But there is no question it took time for Renee Montgomery, Whalen’s backup, to mesh with the starters.
And there is no question that Whalen is important to the team.
“There is nothing like having Lindsay on the floor, directing things,” Reeve said.
Securing one of the top two spots in the postseason was ideal in terms of getting Whalen back up to speed.
The team won’t start the semifinal round until Tuesday. That means Whalen, who has been doing intense individual workouts for the last week-plus, will be able to ease herself back into top form.
Reeve said Whalen didn’t use her left hand as much as usual on Wednesday, to which Whalen joked, “Coaches have been telling me since I was 8 years old to use my left hand.”
But seriously: Whalen said that, for the last week, when her hand really started feeling good, there has been improvement daily.
“Every day I’ll be a little more comfortable with it.” she said.
“But it was my first day of doing everything for a month, so there is going to be a little rust to knock off.
“Overall, it went well.”