Nneka Ogwumike is expected to return to the Los Angeles Sparks’ lineup on Sunday against the Indiana Fever as WNBA games resume after the Olympic break.
Ogwumike has not played since suffering a knee injury on June 1 but has been practicing since early July. She also practiced with the Nigerian national team in July, when they were in Las Vegas training for the Olympics.
Ogwumike said during a call with reporters on Monday that she’s getting better each day and returning to her normal self.
“When you suffer an injury like this, you still are a little ginger at times, but I try to put it out of my mind,” Ogwumike said. “It’s a mental thing.”
The 2016 WNBA MVP also said she’s still processing the emotions of being left off of the U.S. Olympic team and then being denied an exemption to play for Nigeria in Tokyo.
“It’s been a lot about figuring out how I want to come out of this,” she said, fighting back tears during the press conference. “When you endure situations that are tough in life, you can choose many different routes. I’m just grateful to be on a team with people who care about me.
“I’ve always been described as resilient, and I think I had to tell myself that a lot, to make sure that I believed it. Because it’s been a few weeks of feeling unvaluable or unworthy. I just want to play basketball. And have fun.”
The Sparks have struggled in Ogwumike’s absence, losing their last six games before the Olympic break and dropping to 10th place in the WNBA standings.