Seimone Augustus appears to be on the cusp of returning to action.
This is big news for a Lynx team that, at 10-10, approaches the final 10 games of the season with hopes of pushing into one of the top four spots in the league.
For the first time since arthroscopic surgery on her right knee May 30, Augustus took part in practice with the Lynx on Wednesday. And while her return in Saturday’s game at Indiana isn’t likely, coach Cheryl Reeve wouldn’t absolutely rule it out.
“I have not touched base with Chuck,” Reeve said, referring to Lynx head athletic trainer Chuck Barta. “I guess anything’s possible, but I don’t think it’s likely.”
But: “We’re at the end, where we’ll make a determination for her,” Reeve said. “She’s pretty close to playing.”
That news was tempered with the decision that Cecilia Zandalasini — the Italian player who missed the first half of the season while playing for her national team at the EuroBasket tournament — will not play for the Lynx this season. An ankle injury sustained in that tournament has not healed to the point where she’ll be available this summer.
But the return of Augustus could be a shot in the arm for a team that has been up and down offensively this season.
Augustus took part in some practices early in training camp and appeared in both preseason games. But soreness in her right knee soon sidelined her. Two games into the regular season, it was decided she would have the procedure. Augustus had been ramping up her activity of late, but Wednesday was the first time she took part in practice since the surgery.
“She looked good,” Reeve said. “It was fun to have her back out there. She went through half the practice with us.”
Reeve joked that Augustus probably didn’t relish returning on a day when the Lynx worked mainly on defense. But having Augustus on the floor was a definite boost for a team whose offensive rating has suffered during a 4-4 July.
“It was good for her,” Reeve said. “It was good to have her voice out there on the floor with us. It was a good day for us in that regard.”
The question is what will be Augustus’ role when she sees her first action of her 14th WNBA season?
“We’re still talking through that,” Reeve said. “I suspect we’ll have more limited minutes. This won’t be a 28-minute player. So how do you best utilize her? What is the timing of when you want her on the floor, and how do you achieve that? We’re still working through that.”
Meanwhile, Zandalasini will not to available to play this season.
“She has not been able to make progress on the ankle injury,” Reeve said. “And we thought it best not to put her in that situation.”