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Injuries have sidetracked the Sun more than anything else

Mohegan - Mistie Bass took part in only non-contact drills at Thursday's Connecticut Sun practice due to a right knee strain and is listed as "day-to-day".

Danielle McCray was in the corner riding a stationary bike. She would be playing her fourth season had she not tore her Achilles playing overseas.

Welcome to the Sun's 2013 season.

Connecticut has the WNBA's worst record headed into tonight's game against the Eastern Conference-leading Chicago Sky (Mohegan Sun Arena, 7 p.m.).

The Sun are 6-13, and the biggest reason why is simple - injuries.

All the ailments have forced others to play more minutes, and rookie Kelly Faris has earned hers of late. She's closed out two of the last three games as head coach Anne Donovan has grown to trust her and her defensive abilities.

"I'm just going out there on the court and trying to give her a reason to trust me," Faris said. "To build that trust that she can put me on the court when she needs something to get done, and that I'll be able to do it."

Faris played a key role in the Sun's 70-64 comeback win over Indiana on Aug. 1. She didn't enter the game until there were over two minutes left in the third quarter with Connecticut trailing, 50-36. She provided a good defensive presence and never left the game.

"It (Faris' increased minutes) started in that Indiana game," Donovan said. "She just seems much more calm out there and much more confident. She's not a rookie anymore. You kind of get baptized by fire in the first half of the season when you have the injuries that we've had."

Kara Lawson, Renee Montgomery, Tan White and Bass have missed a combined 32 games to various ailments. Lawson has also been away of late because of a family matter.

Donovan has never had a team hit with so many injuries in her previous 10 seasons in the WNBA.

"We've had so many at the same position," Donovan said. "To lose Kara, Renee and Tan all from our backcourt is what has made this challenging, especially those three that provide so much of a scoring punch for us. So it has been challenging. It's bad whenever you get (injuries), but when you get hit in the same position, it's tough."

Injuries aren't an excuse for losing is a well-worn cliché, but the reality is that injuries often lead to losses. And it's only human nature that both losing and injuries can wear a team down.

"You saw remnants the first half of the season," Donovan said. "I think you saw a team that wanted to win, but I don't know if we believed we could with all the injuries. We were a work in progress even when we were healthy with Asjha (Jones) not coming back and a new coaching staff. … It just kept everybody off-balance.

"I think now you're seeing a team that feels a lot more confident. They're comfortable with the coaching staff. They know what they can expect from Tan and Renee."

Some rookies have a hard time adjusting to less playing time after being a high school and college star, but Faris isn't paying attention to her minutes. She just wants to contribute.

"If you sit there and worry about, 'oh, my gosh, I'm only getting these many minutes', then you're going to start thinking about the wrong things," Faris said. "And when you do get on the court, you're going to be making sure you don't mess up.

"(You) come out with the mindset of, 'hey, if I get on the court, it's an opportunity. I've got to make the most of it.'"

n.griffen@theday.com

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