Breanna Stewart, Sue Bird intend to play in Seattle Storm’s playoff opener

After missing the Seattle Storm’s final two games of the WNBA regular season because of an issue with scar tissue in her left foot/lower leg, 2018 league MVP Breanna Stewart told reporters Tuesday in her first media availability since the injury that she intends to be back on the court Sunday when the Storm open the playoffs.

And she expects All-Star point guard Sue Bird, who also missed the final two games of the regular season with a left knee injury, to be out there with her.

“Our intentions are both to be able to play,” Stewart said. “I think that we’re just taking advantage of this time. Obviously, everybody knows the double-bye is extremely important whether we’re in a bubble or we’re not. My plan is to be ready to go on Sunday, and I think Sue’s is the same.”

“That’s the plan,” confirmed Storm coach Gary Kloppenburg, who said on Friday that both players have returned to practice.

“We got them back in there today,” Kloppenburg said. “They looked good. They’ve been staying in pretty good condition, I think, throughout this. So we got them up and down a little bit; wanted to see how they felt. And I think they both looked pretty good.”

By virtue of finishing tied for the WNBA’s best record with the Las Vegas Aces at 18-4, the Storm secured a double-bye to the semifinal round. So while the opening round of the WNBA playoffs tips off Tuesday night in Bradenton, Florida, the Storm won’t be in action again until Sunday, giving Stewart a week and a half to recover from the injury she suffered last Wednesday.

“In the third quarter of the Dallas game, I tweaked my leg/foot a little bit, messed with some scar tissue and just made it a little stiff,” Stewart explained. “I wanted to play the last two games of the season just because I wanted to help make sure we finished strong, but it probably wouldn’t have been my smartest decision if I was to play.”

Stewart, who missed the entire 2019 WNBA season after rupturing her right Achilles tendon during the Euroleague Final Four, was thankful the injury wasn’t more serious.

“I just stepped the wrong way and I felt something,” she said. “I’m happy it was scar tissue and nothing else, because when I feel a pop or anything like that, obviously that’s going to freak me out. But it was just scar tissue and nothing else.”

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