Relatively speaking, Napheesa Collier is lucky.
Like everyone, the Lynx forward and reigning WNBA Rookie of the Year, has been stuck in coronavirus-induced limbo for weeks. Like the rest of her fellow players, she is waiting for word on when or whether the WNBA season will start.
But unlike some others, she has access to a church with a gym near her home in St. Charles, Mo. That means she can get a daily workout as she waits. She usually gets in one basketball workout each morning. The Lynx have provided her with an exercise regimen she also does daily.
“But it’s pretty much playing Monopoly and watching TV between those things,’’ Collier said on a Zoom chat with reporters Friday.
As is the case with the NHL, baseball and the NBA, WNBA players are trying to stay ready, struggling to stay patient.
Friday was supposed to be the Lynx’s season opener, in Chicago.
“It’s been hard,’’ Collier said. “Because without a start date, it’s hard to have something, a firm goal to work toward.’’
The coaching staff has worked hard to keep the team — which has three rookie draft picks as well as several significant other additions — on the same page. There have been weekly virtual team meetings where the players have been able to get to know each other. There also have been online film sessions.
But it isn’t basketball.
“It’s really disappointing,’’ Collier said. “I’m looking forward to my second year in the league. This is what we all want to do. We have a lot of new people, I’m excited to get to know them and play with them. With everything going on right now, it’s not safe or feasible to do that right now.’’
Last year Collier was named rookie of the year after averaging 13.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.9 steals per game. She shot 49% overall, 36.1% on three-pointers. She scored in double figures in her final 15 regular-season games, averaging 15.6 points and 7.3 rebounds.
In a playoff loss to Seattle, Collier became the third rookie in league history to post a double-double (19 points, 10 rebounds) in her playoff debut.
Now she’s waiting to build on that. The league has been quiet of late on plans for the season, spending the time coming up with scenarios that might allow some semblance of a season to be played. Some believe gathering teams at a so-called “safe site” where the players and coaches are quarantined is one way to do that.
Know this: Collier wants to play.
“I assume if we do [get called back to play] they’ll have taken every single precaution to keep us safe,’’ Collier said. “If it’s a safe location, we’re all quarantined together? As long as the right precautions are taken, I absolutely want to play.’’
Collier said the players would need at least a two-week training camp. She said she hasn’t heard anything about changes in compensation should a season be shortened.
She just wants to play.
Until then? Daily basketball workouts, where Collier is focusing on three-point shooting. Daily conditioning workouts. Regular Zoom meetings with coaches and teammates.
And Monopoly and TV. Like everyone she’s been watching ESPN’s “Last Dance,’’ following the Chicago Bulls’ final championship season. She said she loves the show, finds it inspiring.
“Any time you watch anything about sports, you want to go play,’’ she said. “Especially with Michael Jordan, how he approached the game. You want to get in the gym afterward. It definitely gives you the itch to play again.’’
Lynx classics on FSN
Fox Sports North will rebroadcast Lindsay Whalen’s 14-assist game for the Lynx from 2013 at 6 p.m. Sunday. It’s the first of eight Lynx “classic games” the network will air, including Maya Moore’s championship-winning, buzzer-beater game from 2015 (televised June 21) and Game 5 of the 2017 WNBA Finals (June 25).