Milton-Jones Practices With Mystics

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Washington Mystics' leading three-point shooter and defender and one of its top rebounders may be close to playing again. DeLisha Milton-Jones injured her knee on June 17 and it was thought that she wouldn't be back until the end of the season.

But Milton-Jones was on the court yesterday, practicing and putting her legs through a set of painful stretches.

"She's very anxious to get back here but we don't want to rush it," Coach Richie Adubato said. "She's done an unbelievable job rehabbing. She's supposed to be out six to eight weeks, which we felt would be the end of the season. Now it looks like she's going to be able to play some before the season's over, which will be very beneficial to us. She'll be hopefully sharp and ready to go before we get to the playoffs."

In the meantime, the Mystics, who are coming off an 83-75 win in Chicago on Sunday, face the Phoenix Mercury in a rare 11:30 a.m. game today at Verizon Center. The Mercury's high-powered offense could pose a problem.

The Mercury has the WNBA's first- and third-highest scorers in Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter and, according to Mystics guard Alana Beard , Washington's focus will be on those players.

"Diana and Cappie are like 80 percent of their scoring so we need to take away at least one of them," Beard said. "If we do that, I think we have a great chance at winning."

Adubato said he'll use Crystal Robinson in an effort to limit Taurasi, who averages 24 points per game.

Said Adubato: "She is thriving because they are really looking to play up-tempo. She has a three-point shot, she can drive to the basket. . . . They score a lot of points."

-- Melanie Ho

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