PHOENIX -- Seattle point guard Sue Bird said she will play Tuesday in Game 5 of the Storm's WNBA series with Phoenix. Bird suffered a broken nose in Sunday's 86-84 Game 4 loss to the Mercury, which evened the series 2-2.
With 4 minutes, 23 seconds left in the second quarter, Bird was hit in the face inadvertently by teammate Breanna Stewart's elbow. Bird said she knew immediately her nose was broken, because this is the fifth time something like that has happened to her in her professional career. Four of those injuries have come during WNBA play -- the first was in 2004, the year the Storm won their first title -- and the other injury was in Turkey while Bird was playing for Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg in 2012.
Bird was not able to return to Sunday's game. The Storm bring a mask to road games, and Bird said she would have played with it Sunday, but her nose wouldn't stop bleeding.
"We travel with the mask. I always have it with me," Bird said. "But it kept bleeding. Now [after the game] I could play because it stopped."
Teammate Jewell Loyd said it was difficult for the Storm without Bird, the former No. 1 pick who is in her 16th WNBA season.
"She's a veteran player," Loyd said. "And it helps a lot when she's out there. Down the stretch, we just didn't execute."
The Storm are the No. 1 seed and will host the No. 5 seed Mercury in the series' deciding game at 10 p.m. ET Tuesday in KeyArena in Seattle.