An injury guard Cappie Pondexter suffered two months ago in Turkey has become a cause for concern for the Mercury, and the Olympian may end up in street clothes tonight for a second straight game.
Pondexter, who will be a game-time decision, took a metal knee brace squarely to her thigh during a playoff game overseas. The collision caused internal bleeding, which drained down to her knee, resulting in swelling.
After just a few days of treatment, though, Pondexter, known for being a highly driven competitor, returned to the court and eventually lead her team to the championship.
The next day, May 16, Pondexter was on a flight back to the States and on May 17 was in uniform for the Mercury’s opener. Despite a large bruise on her thigh for six weeks, Pondexter played through the pain and didn’t miss a game until Tuesday at winless Atlanta.
“If it was a playoff game, I definitely would have played, but it was a regular-season game, end of a road trip,” Pondexter said. “It’s all about being smart. We’ve got a back-to-back coming up. That’s more important. …
“I’ve got the Olympics coming up, the rest of July to make a playoff run. … It’s just preventive right now.”
While the injury has had little effect on Pondexter’s game, she’s second in the league in scoring (23.6), she hasn’t had enough rest to allow her thigh to fully heal.
Head athletic trainer Tamara Poole said she saw signs that Pondexter’s body was starting to break down during Phoenix’s road trip, so she made the call to sit her in Atlanta to prevent possible further injury.
Pondexter, who last played Sunday at Connecticut, sat out much of the last two practices but has kept up her conditioning. If she doesn’t play tonight, she will again be a game-time decision Sunday at Los Angeles.
Center Tangela Smith surpassed the 4,000-point mark Tuesday. Smith, who has 4,005 points, is the seventh player in league history to reach the plateau.
She joins Lisa Leslie, Tina Thompson, Katie Smith, Sheryl Swoopes, Lauren Jackson and Yolanda Griffith.
Pondexter is among the players featured in the WNBA’s latest round of “Expect Great” commercials. There is a link to her commercial at WNBA.com.