The Chicago Sky will begin the 2014 season without it's All-Star center Sylvia Fowles. Fowles underwent arthroscopic surgery in March to repair a torn labrum and impingement in her hip. Not having Fowles could throw a monkey wrench into Chicago's plan to return to the WNBA Playoffs.
Last season Fowles led the WNBA in rebounding with 11.5 boards per game and was second in the league in blocked shots swatting 2.4 per contest. Big Syl was awarded her second Defensive Player of the Year award for her contributions. In addition, Fowles had the best field goal percentage (58%) in the entire league and finished tenth in scoring (16.3) and was tied for second in double-doubles with 17 total.
Those kinds of numbers are impossible to replace. Chicago brought in former Indiana Fever center Sasha Goodlett, and drafted NC State center Markeshia Gatling to hold down the fort until Fowles returns, but they are completely different players than Fowles.
The Sky may struggle early on defensively, but Big Syl vows she'll be back in no time to dominate in the paint.
Swish Appeal: Tell me about the injury. When did it happen and how long have you been playing with it?
Sylvia Fowles: I don't know when it happened. I don't know how long I've been playing on it. All I know is last season was one of my toughest seasons having it. It is an old injury, so it was wear and tear over time, but I don't know when it happened.
SA: What does your rehab include?
SF: Getting back strong. I haven't really been doing anything that's too high-tempo and intense. Everything is just retraining the hip to get back strong and make sure it can hold this body together.
SA: Have you been involved in training camp at all?
SF: Yeah, I've been here every day. I've been here since the first day of training camp. I get in and I do weights and then I go to therapy, and then I have another workout in the afternoon. My day is pretty much like their day.
SA: What impressive things have you seen from the rookies?
SF: All of ‘em have something different. All of ‘em are unique in their own special way. One thing that I can say is they're very eager to play and want to be here, so that's always a good thing to have around.
SA: The Indiana series was bad all around last year. Did you look back on the Indiana series and think about what you could have done differently?
SF: It's always a lot of things you can do differently. Looking back on that season, it was a learning point for us. I have a bitter taste in my mouth and I'm sure a lot of them feel the same way. But like I said, it's a teaching point. You go back and see the things that you didn't do so well and the things that you did do well and you correct those things and make sure you stay together as a whole.
SA: There's been talk about playing you and Markeisha at the same time. Are you prepared to play the four at all?
SF: I think I can play the four a little bit. I'm not going to say that I can't. I can do anything I put my mind to. Just to have two big bodies inside would make a difference as well and free Elena up at the three.
SA: How do you feel about this year's team?
SF: I'm looking forward to the season even though I won't be starting with the team. I'm doing everything I need to do to get back and be strong. I'm looking forward to the season and having success.
SA: How will the loss of Swin Cash affect the team?
SF: I can't say what it brings to the table. Swin was her own individual and what we have here is different from what Swin brought. It'll be different but at the same time you've got to go from where we started.
SA: She was kind of like a vocal leader. Do you feel like you have to be more vocal now?
SF: I don't have to be the only one. I know a lot of people are stepping into that role, especially the veterans. I know we're pushing Elena a lot, but we're trying to get everybody to get involved. I don't think one person can get it done.
SA: When are we going to see you back on the court?
SF: It's a surprise, but I'll be back soon.