Sylvia Fowles, Elena Delle Donne expected back for Sky
BY BRIAN SANDALOW For Sun-Times Media June 24, 2014 9:00PM
Chicago Sky forward Elena Delle Donne, center, celebrates with center Sylvia Fowles, left, and forward Swin Cash after getting a free-throw shot during the second half of an WNBA basketball game against the Washington Mystics on Wednesday, July 10, 2013, in Rosemont, Ill. The Sky won 89-85. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Updated: June 24, 2014 11:35PM
The Sky haven’t been whole all season. Whether it has been center Sylvia Fowles sitting out after having offseason hip surgery, forward Elena Delle Donne missing games after a flare-up of Lyme disease or guard Epiphanny Prince being absent for personal reasons, the Sky haven’t had their complete roster together at any point.
That should change Wednesday. Fowles and Delle Donne are expected to start when the Sky (6-7) open a five-game road trip against the Connecticut Sun. The Sky went 1-4 without Delle Donne, who is averaging 22.3 points, and they haven’t had Fowles at all,
depriving them of the reigning defensive player of the year and an inside presence.
‘‘It’s awesome that Sylvia’s back, too,’’ Delle Donne said. ‘‘It’s just great to finally have all 12 players suiting up and being out there together. We’re just thrilled now that everybody’s sort of back.’’
‘‘Sort of back’’ is probably the best way to describe it. Delle Donne will be monitored closely and likely won’t play more than 20 minutes against the Sun (7-6). Fowles hasn’t played since February in China and will need time to work off some rust.
Still, getting Delle Donne and Fowles back will be a boost for the Sky, who are 1-6 in their last seven games.
‘‘It’s going to be obviously welcomed,’’ coach Pokey Chatman said. ‘‘I think mentally . . . it’s always nice just to be a full roster for the first time since the season started. If you think about it, it’s the first time that all 12 Sky players on the roster will be available for a game.’’
Because of the absences of Fowles, Delle Donne and Prince, other players have taken bigger roles. The Sky hope that, plus the adversity they’ve gone through, will help them later.
‘‘We’re learning to play through adversity, so hopefully this will help us in the long run,’’ Delle Donne said. ‘‘Obviously, we’ve got to get used to playing with one another because this group hasn’t even been on the court together. We still have a ways to go.’’
NOTE: The WNBA
released early vote totals for the All-Star Game on
July 19 in Phoenix, and Sky star Elena Delle Donne is the leading vote-getter.