LOS ANGELES — Storm point guard Sue Bird was diagnosed with a nose contusion after being examined by a Manhattan Beach, Calif., doctor on Monday.
Because there was no break to her orbital bone or nose, she doesn't have to wear the protective facemask from past seasons. However, Bird said she will don the gear in Game 3 tonight so that she can "take more chances" without being concerned about further injury.
Bird sustained the contusion Sunday with 54 seconds remaining in Seattle's Game 2 loss at Los Angeles when Sparks guard Tamara Moore inadvertently whacked Bird in the face with her elbow. Bird collapsed to the court and dripped blood, fearing a break, which would have been her third broken nose in the past three seasons.
But Bird heavily iced the injury Sunday evening and said that because she is taking anti-inflammatory medication for the plantar fasciitis in her foot, she didn't have any aftereffects, such as a black eye or headaches.
The mask Bird will wear is from the 2005 season, when teammate Lauren Jackson broke Bird's nose and right orbital bone driving to the basket during the June 7 loss at Connecticut. Bird had to wear the facemask for the rest of the season.
Bird sustained her first break in Game 2 of the opening round of the Storm's 2004 championship run when she knocked into former Minnesota guard Teresa Edwards' cheekbone.
"I know it's [the mask is] there, and it's annoying, but the fact that I had to wear it pretty much the entire  season, I'm comfortable and confident that I can play in it and play normally," said Bird, who is averaging 11.5 points and 3.5 assists this postseason. "The hardest part is that there are these blind spots, like when you look down. But this is the playoffs, I don't want to take any chances with it."
Coach Anne Donovan said after practice Monday that Bird's game is the same as it was without the mask, even displaying an extra pep during the short session.
Donovan wants Bird to wear the mask permanently.
"I did tell her she needs to wear the mask," Donovan said. "I don't know if that had an influence, but I think she knows that's a good idea right now. If I had my druthers she'd never not wear it."
Sparks forward Chamique Holdsclaw had another MRI on Monday to examine the plantar fasciitis in her left foot. She played only two minutes in Game 2.
Holdsclaw was Los Angeles' second-leading scorer during the regular season (15.0), but the Sparks have played without her at times this summer. Los Angeles began the season at 3-3 while Holdsclaw was away dealing with personal matters and was 1-2 when she missed three of its final four regular-season games due to the foot injury.
Taking a break
Jackson didn't practice on Monday, per her usual routine to ease the pain from the stress fracture and plantar fasciitis in her left leg and foot. Center Janell Burse joined her as a precautionary measure because she tweaked her ankle during Game 2. Both are expected to start tonight.
• Former Storm forward Adia Barnes traveled from her home in San Diego to catch Game 2.
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or email@example.com