Web Editorial Associate
She didn’t take part in practice, but Lindsay Whalen returned to watch and help lead her Minnesota Lynx teammates during practice on Thursday at The Courts at Mayo Clinic Square.
The Lynx are preparing for Friday’s game against the Los Angeles Sparks at 7 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
And although Whalen won’t be playing in the game due to a left hand injury, that didn’t stop her from having her voice heard during practice.
“We miss her presence. It’s a voice, it’s a presence and it’s the way she conducts herself, it’s business,” Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said after practice Thursday. “She is just contagious in a way that is hard to describe. She holds her teammates accountable and she has a way about her that you don’t want to let her down.”
Thursday was the first time Whalen was able to be around a Lynx practice since her injury. The team had been away on a two-game road trip before returning Wednesday afternoon.
“It is nice to see her around and just see she is doing well in general,” Renee Montgomery said. “It’s more so just to check on her and make sure everything is good her way. She couldn’t put her hair up, so we helped her put her hair up today. She can’t do stuff like that, so we need to help her.”
Even if she wasn’t able to practice with her teammates, Whalen turned into coach mode to help prepare Minnesota for Friday’s game. Near the end of practice, you could hear Whalen yelling and cheering on her teammates as practice wrapped up.
“She knows what to expect everyday. She popped in the office and grabbed a hold of the practice plan so she knows what’s going on,” Reeve said. “I talked to her what the points of emphasis where for the practice so she was better equipped to communicate to her teammates.”
Whalen continues on the road to recovery after it was announced by the team she would be sidelined indefinitely with a fracture in her left hand.
But that doesn’t mean she won’t continue to be a big part of the team moving forward.
“It was nice to see her, it’s been a while because we are on the road for a little bit. I know for her, it was a bit of a pick-me-up for us to be around again,” Reeve said. “Just having her on the sideline with her humor. She was telling the players what needs to be done. It’s nothing like having her out there, but this is the next best thing with having her voice around us.”
The Lynx and Sparks battle at 7 p.m. Friday night in St. Paul. The game will be aired on Fox Sports North Plus, NBATV and 106.1 BOB FM.