Anete Jekabsone-Zogota was walking down the hallway outside the Connecticut locker room Friday night, decked out in a blue Sun T-shirt and her official game shorts when DeMya Walker stopped her.
"Oooh, are those game shorts?" Walker said, excited about the prospect that Jekabsone-Zogota was suiting up to play.
Jekabsone-Zogota laughed and shook her head. No, she wasn't preparing to play tonight. In fact, it may be a little longer than she expected until she does return.
Just over three weeks removed from arthoscopic surgery on her right knee, Jekabsone-Zogota still doesn't feel healthy enough to endure full basketball activities. Coach Mike Thibault said last week that she could possibly return to practice soon, but Jekabsone-Zogota said she may "need more time," perhaps past the two-to-four-week timetable doctors initially gave her following her July 8 surgery.
"I feel good -- when I don’t have to do something on the court," Jekabsone-Zogota deadpanned. "When I start to do some defense stuff or running or more basketball stuff, it still bothers my knee. Maybe I need more time. I’m still not ready to go and play. ... I wish I could really start (playing) faster and be with the team faster on the court."
Jekabsone-Zogota has looked good during her workouts with team trainer Jeremy Norman and strength coach Jodi Hopkins during practices and before games. But while her knee feels less sore, she's still not confident in it.
This is the first time Jekabsone-Zogota has gone through rehab for a major injury. In the days following her surgery, she felt she could return within the original timetable, perhaps even faster. But Friday, she said, "I will not make any more (goals). I’ll see how my leg is feeling."
"Maybe it takes longer to (come back) because I don’t know how it is and I’m more mentally scared now," she said. "Maybe it still needs to heal more, a week, maybe longer. But I talked to Coach (Thibault) this morning and he said, ‘Take your time. When you feel ready, then you’ll be back.’
"It’s not because I’m scared, I’m not going to go practice. My knee just isn’t ready."
Jekabsone-Zogota injured her knee at New York on June 27 and later underwent surgery at Backus Hospital in Norwich. Including that loss to the Liberty in which she played just five minutes, the Sun are 4-6 without her, and have missed her ball-handling, passing and ability to spread defenses with her shooting. The Latvian guard was shooting 35.4 percent from 3 and averaging 9.3 points per game when she was injured.
Jekabsone-Zogota still has a sense of humor about her injury, though. Asked about her biggest limitation during her rehab, she laughed and said, "I can’t be so fast.
"I’m too slow now," she added.