After closing out the season on a 3-0 run to claim the top seed, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve gave her players two days off. The team will return to practice Wednesday.
And, for the first time since Aug. 3, the team will be completely healthy.
Lindsay Whalen, out since then with a broken finger in her left hand, will return for the playoffs. After Sunday's victory over Washington, Reeve talked about what she expects from Whalen when the team returns to practice.
"I'll ask her to be our starting point guard, to focus on the things we want to do,'' Reeve said.
And here's something else Reeve expects: Exhaustion.
"I need her to push herself physically,'' Reeve said. "I think, the first three days of practice, she needs to be exhausted. She's working hard from a conditioning standpoint. But there is nothing like going rep after rep, playing offense hard, getting knocked down, getting and going to play defense. For three days I want her to really challenge herself.''
Whalen missed 12 games, and the Lynx were 7-5 in those games, needing that 3-0 flourish to keep the league's top playoff seed. Not long after Aug. 4 surgery Whalen was cleared to work out, and she has done so religiously. But there is no substitute for game action. Or for intense practice action, for that matter. And she's been out a month.
There is ground to be made up.