The Dream fell to 1-5 in June, which included four consecutive defeats to Minnesota and Seattle. The Dream remained competitive in those contests, but there’s an evident missing piece as second-year guard Chennedy Carter continues to recover from an elbow injury sustained May 27 against the New York Liberty.
The jolt to the Dream’s rotation is near, though. Carter has been listed as doubtful for a number of games, but is progressing closer to return.
“It’s a bit of a work in progress because this is the first significant injury to my arm,” Carter said June 8 in her lone meeting with reporters since the injury. “I had a lot of swelling, but now that’s going down. I should be back soon. Sooner than I thought, honestly.”
Carter’s arm has gradually improved with numerous treatment sessions and increased involvement in practice. She does daily range-of-motion exercises, uses stimulation to reduce swelling and works with the training staff frequently to accelerate her return to the court.
Petersen said that Carter is doing numerous shooting drills and 5-on-0 work during sessions. Carter also receives live work with dribbling and quicker movements to maintain the shifty guard’s change of direction.
Carter also has seen improvement by watching games from a different perspective. Tianna Hawkins applauded Carter for continuing to serve as a valuable asset to the Dream with contagious energy and willingness to communicate.
“She’s been doing what she needs to do in terms of getting healthy and back on the court,” Hawkins said. “We will be a lot quicker with her back. She allows us to run in transition and move the ball a little bit better.”
Carter averaged 15.7 points per game through the team’s first six contests, which ranks 18th best in the WNBA despite missing six games, according to Her Hoop Stats.
Petersen called it a “silver lining” to Carter’s injury, but the Dream have been able to take advantage of their deep backcourt. Sims has rebounded from a slow start to the season and stepped into the starting role, Tiffany Hayes has remained a consistent do-it-all piece, and Courtney Williams has continued to be a 3-point threat despite a colder shooting performance against the Mystics.
Then again, each of the guards have contrasting styles. Carter’s return gives the Dream another dangerous weapon and allows them to further embrace a fast-paced style of play.
“Chenn gives us some more downhill and helps us get to the rim,” Petersen said. “It will give us another piece to the puzzle that we’re trying to put together when she comes back.”
The WNBA season creeps toward the midway mark, and the Dream have remained in a playoff position despite playing half of the season without a premier player. The Dream have patched it together, but hope that Carter’s return revives the group’s winning ways.
It might come soon, but the adjustments without No. 3 in the fold continue.
“It’s one of those deals where you’re out until you’re not,” Petersen said.