A magnetic resonance imaging exam performed on veteran post player Lynetta Kizer on Monday came back with some relatively good news.
Kizer left the team’s final preseason game Saturday in the first half with what was at first thought to be either a back or hamstring problem, but it has been traced to the sacroiliac joint. Her return to action will depend on how Kizer can play through the soreness. She is expected to take part in practice Tuesday.
Kizer did not practice Monday.
“It doesn’t look like it’s anything serious,” coach Cheryl Reeve said.
Still, Reeve will need to be assured that Kizer is good to go by the time the season opener comes Sunday, because of the team’s relative lack of depth at power forward.
The issue could present a problem if soreness lingers. Kizer is expected to be Rebekkah Brunson’s top backup, with second-year center Temi Fagbenle expected to back up Sylvia Fowles.
If Kizer is laid up for a while, the Lynx might have to find another backup, at least in the short term. One option might be Endy Miyem. From France, Miyem — along with Cecelia Zandalsini — have finished their European commitments and are expected in the Twin Cities by Tuesday. The 6-2 Miyem is a two-time Olympian, was on the French team that won silver in London in 2012 and was the leading scorer for France’s fourth-place team in Rio in 2016.
The Lynx likely will start the season with 11 players, because of salary cap restrictions. So if Kizer has lingering pain, Reeve will have to react.
“We’re going to remain nimble,” Reeve said of the coming days. “If we don’t like the way it’s going, there is no reason to be behind the eight-ball.”
At this point, as Reeve joked, the top healthy backup to Brunson at power forward is Maya Moore. Reeve has exceptional guard depth this season, with starters Seimone Augustus and Lindsay Whalen and reserves Danielle Robinson, Tanisha Wright and Alexis Jones. Reeve has looked extensively at three-guard sets during training camp and in both preseason games; Wright’s ability to guard both positions and against many small forwards gives the Lynx a lot of flexibility, with Moore at power forward and Fowles at center.
Meanwhile, the Lynx returned to practice after taking Sunday off. They will continue to work on learning the offense and defense Tuesday, hold media day Wednesday, then start preparing for the Los Angeles Sparks and Sunday’s season opener at Target Center.
As part of that process, the Lynx will travel to Mankato for their traditional preseason dinner with owner Glen Taylor and his wife, Becky. It is something Taylor, who also owns the Star Tribune, always has enjoyed doing, and something Reeve said the players always anticipate and appreciate.
This year there will be a special twist.
The Lynx’s championship rings from the 2017 season will be publicly awarded before Sunday’s game. But the coaches and players will get a sneak preview of them at Taylor’s house Tuesday night.
“We’ll get to look at them, all at the same time, at the same moment,” Reeve said. “We’ll be able to talk about them. We wouldn’t be able to do that at the game.”
And for those players at the dinner who weren’t on the team last year?
“Motivation,” Reeve joked.