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Jayda Evans covers college and pro women's basketball. While its her first year on the Washington beat, she has covered the Storm since its inception. She'll offer observations, critiques, occasional off-beat tales and answers to select e-mail inquires. Evans also has written a book on the Storm and women's hoops, called "Game On!"

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June 1, 2007 4:50 PM

Injury free

Posted by Jayda Evans

Aside from arena inquiries, I'm sure the most annoying question to ask Storm forward Lauren Jackson is about her non-injured-but-was-injured legs. She gritted her teeth when drilled on the famous shins and foot at media day and will only oblige questions for so long in smaller groups after practice.

Jackson appears healthy and has a springy step as she runs around the court. She has supposedly setup a protocol for handling any possible future pain with Storm coach Anne Donovan that can be whittled down to the player pulling herself from a session or game at the first tinge of pain. She's only done that once since returning from play in Russia on May 11 because of a sore Achilles.

"With Anne I feel there's some sort of understanding now where if I feel I'm starting to get sore, I'm starting to get tired or whatever, I'm just going to say, 'I'm out,'" Jackson said. "Even if it's one session or one day, it's better than six months. I found with my body, when something starts to get sore, it's always leading to something. Right now, it's maintaining a level where I always feel comfortable and communicating with her [Anne]."

While playing in South Korea, Jackson went through a schedule where she had three games in one week and the teams rarely had off days. Yet, the team traveled by bus for every game, immediately returning home afterward. So, Jackson may not have a problem when the Storm makes its four-game trip after the All-Star Game in July. At least she isn't anticipating it.

"If you think about last summer, she didn't practice at all," Donovan said of Jackson's 2006 campaign. "Compared to last year, this is phenomenal. She's lighter and feels good. From a mental standpoint, she has said this is the best she has been in her career. And I'm not even thinking about who needs to play, where last year it was a need-based substitution pattern because of Lauren."

Jackson has already shown signs of slowing down to do what's best for her body. The team had a mini "training camp" this week and Jackson did her own work with assistant coach Shelley Patterson afterward. When Jackson was too sore on Wednesday, she waved Patterson off.

But the forward was back in the gym on Thursday.

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