When the Lynx open the WNBA regular season May 14 against Phoenix at Target Center, there will be a number of new faces on the roster.
But there also may be some people missing.
Coach Cheryl Reeve said after practice Monday — the team's second of training camp — that both Napheesa Collier and Kayla McBride may not be in the lineup because of commitments to their teams in Europe.
McBride, a big-name free agent acquired in the offseason, is currently playing in Turkey for Fenerbahce SK in Istanbul. Collier, a member of the All-WNBA second team last season, is playing in France for Basket Lattes Montpellier. The latest Collier could play is May 15. If McBride's team's semifinal series goes the distance, it would last until May 3. A victory there would put Fenerbahce into the finals.
"We haven't gotten great news on that front," Reeve said. "Kayla is waiting on a series that is now 1-1. You're hoping for a sweep in that situation, and we didn't get it. Any time the series gets added by a game, it impacts the start of the next series. So now we're really pushing it because of the WNBA protocols.
"Napheesa, the same thing. If they continue to win, and they're in the finals over there, you're looking at their last game being mid-May. That's when our first game is. So she's potentially missing multiple games."
The problem is the league-mandated protocols put in place for COVID-19. After a player finishes up overseas and returns to the United States, there is a mandatory week-long quarantine period with multiple tests.
"Hopefully when they get back we can drop them right in and be an even better team," Reeve said.
Until then Reeve said she is operating under the premise that she will be missing both starters when the regular season starts. McBride is the likely starter at off guard, Collier at small forward.
Other players will have to step up. That could mean a lot of the load is put on Aerial Powers, another offseason free-agent acquisition.
Capable of playing both guard positions and small forward, her quick assimilation of the Lynx season could be vital; she could see big minutes at any one of a number of perimeter spots.
Another Lynx player who could be relied upon, at least a little, at the start is rookie Rennia Davis. The 6-2 forward from Tennessee was selected with the ninth overall pick of the WNBA draft earlier this month.
"You might not know this watching draft night, but Rennia is an introvert, and she's an intellectual," Reeve said. "She likes to kind of understand what she's doing and wants to do it perfectly."
Reeve said Davis stood out during the scrimmage portion of practice.
"So far we feel like she is a player we can grow with and is probably going to be important when you look at Collier's situation," Reeve said.