For the first time all season, the Seattle Storm lost a player game to injury yesterday, with rookie Ashley Walker in street clothes during the Storm’s win over San Antonio. After further testing on Walker’s injured right big toe, she will miss more time – though not as long as was feared when doctors initially believed she had fractured a bone. The latest diagnosis from the Storm’s medical staff that Walker has a stress reaction in the sesamoid bone, located on the first metatarsal in her right foot.
“We’ve been back and forth on this,” said Head Coach Brian Agler after the team’s practice on Wednesday. “Initially we thought it was a fracture of a bone in her big toe. Now we think it might go back to a soft tissue type of fracture, which I just learned about 15 minutes ago, which might mean that she might not be out as long. We’re still trying to figure out what it is. Whatever it is, we hope it’s for the shortest time.”
Under the current diagnosis, Walker’s recovery period will depend on how her foot reacts to rest. In that sense, an injury to the sesamoid – because it is embedded within the flexor tendon that controls the big toe – is akin to a sprained ligament or strained tendon.
“It could be 10 days; it could be three weeks,” explained Walker. “It has to heal on its own; you have to stay off of it, ice, elevation. You kind of have to treat it like a sprain, I guess. Whenever I can put weight on it, I’ll get new shoes, orthotics, and then I can test it out again.”
Walker injured her toe during a recent practice.
“I knew something was wrong with the way I was hurting instantly when I did it,” she recalled. “I was like, ‘Oh yeah, something’s not right.’ We were doing a defensive drill and I stepped funny. My foot started to hurt and it hurt all day next day. It’s all doctors after that.”
While Walker has not been a part of the Storm’s rotation recently, having to stay off the court will keep her from getting valuable experience in practice. Reps during practice have been allowing Walker to make the transition from power forward to small forward, where she has been playing exclusively the last couple of weeks.
Being injured is, “Very frustrating,” Walker said. “I had a couple of good weeks in practice the last couple of weeks, I was doing a lot better and learning a lot of things, and then you’ve got to take a step back. I’ve just got to keep my conditioning up as best I can, keep lifting, eat right and then get back out there and try again.”
“Obviously it’s not going to help her any,” said Agler, “but I think getting her healthy is the most important thing, so we’ll just focus on that.”
Before being injured, Walker did get a chance to see her first game action at small forward during the regular season. She played the entire fourth quarter of the Storm’s loss on June 28 in Los Angeles at the position, learning on the job.
“It gets you a little more acclimated playing the three,” said Walker. “I haven’t had a chance to be out on the floor for extended minutes playing the three. It was fun. It was new; it was uneasy at times, but I got used to it. After a couple of minutes, I was like, ‘Alright, I can do this.’”
- The Storm practiced Wednesday at KeyArena. The Storm Youth Basketball Camp is taking place this week at The Furtado Center.
- Storm forward Swin Cash will be featured tonight on King 5’s weekly Storm segment. Check out her interview with Lisa Gangel at 6:30 and 11:00 p.m. as well as 10:00 p.m. on KONG 6/16.