Diana Taurasi has been practicing with the U.S. women’s basketball team in Tokyo and told reporters this week she’s still hopeful of being able to play in the Americans’ Olympic opener on July 27.
“I’m getting a little better every day,” Taurasi said Thursday, according to ESPN’s Michelle Voepel. “I’ve touched the court for the last few days, so that’s definitely a good sign. When you haven’t played for a while, there’s a little bit of a protocol to get back on the court. I’m checking all the boxes and hopefully, I’ll be ready for the first game against Nigeria.”
Taurasi, appearing in her fifth Olympic Games, hasn’t played since her Phoenix Mercury’s July 3 game due to a hip injury. Earlier in the WNBA season, she cracked her sternum. In total, she’s only played seven of the Mercury’s games this season.
Taurasi did not play in any of Team USA’s exhibition games last week in Las Vegas against Team WNBA, Australia and Nigeria. The Americans lost the first two games and won the third.
Getting Taurasi back would be a huge boost for Team USA. The 39-year-old is the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer with 9,040 points and has led the U.S. team in scoring in each of the last two Olympics in 2012 and 2016.
The U.S. women open up group play against Nigeria on Tuesday before playing Japan on Friday. The Americans are going for their seventh straight gold medal at this summer’s Olympics.