Rookie forward Katie Lou Samuelson plopped down on a folding chair toward the end of the Sky’s shootaround Tuesday. She wore a hard, black cast on her shooting arm.
The moment was a sobering one for coach James Wade, who initially thought Samuelson had only a minor sprain.
After the Sky’s 82-75 home victory against the Mercury, Wade confirmed Samuelson had a small fracture in her wrist. She’ll be in a cast for at least three weeks, and Wade said she will return once she regains full motion in her arm.
Samuelson’s injury occurred in the second quarter of the Sky’s victory Sunday against the Storm. Samuelson — who has battled injuries throughout her career, including two foot injuries at UConn — fell on her right hand after taking a charge. She didn’t return to the game.
The injury came at an unfortunate time for Samuelson, who appeared to have been turning the corner after the Sky selected her with the No. 4 overall pick in the WNBA Draft in April.
‘‘It’s a long season,’’ Wade said. ‘‘It’s a frustrating part because you cheer for all your players who come in and work hard, and you want to reward them with minutes.
‘‘We’ll keep her spirits up. We think she’ll be fine. Before you know it, you’ll see her back in uniform.’’
Forward Gabby Williams said she thinks Samuelson will return stronger from this adversity.
‘‘I’m not worried,’’ said Williams, who scored 10 points in the Sky’s victory. ‘‘I know she’s going to come back. When she does come back, she’ll be ready and hungry.
‘‘Of course, I feel terrible, but I don’t want to be down for her. I want to try to keep her spirits high and make sure she’s staying up, make sure she’s staying in shape and realizing that when she comes back, she’s not going to miss a beat.’’
Samuelson’s injury is the latest hit to the Sky’s bench. Backup point guard Jamierra Faulkner is recovering from a knee injury, and center Astou Ndour is playing for Spain’s national team in the EuroBasket tournament this month.
With the trio out for the foreseeable future, the Sky are down to nine active players. Wade is looking for the rest of the bench to step up.
‘‘This gives other players a chance to step up and have [Samuelson’s] back,’’ Wade said.
The Sky also will be looking for reinforcements from the outside. After the game, the WNBA granted the Sky an emergency hardship exception, which allows them to sign a player without it affecting their salary cap. They likely will sign a player in the coming days.
Williams, who had been playing as a backup point guard to Courtney Vandersloot, took most of Samuelson’s minutes at forward. With Williams in the frontcourt, second-round pick Chloe Jackson made her debut at Wintrust Arena. She missed a shot, turned the ball over, committed a foul and had an assist in less than three minutes.
The Sky’s offense again was led by Diamond DeShields, who went 5-for-8 from three-point range and scored 25 points. Vandersloot added 17 points and eight assists, which moved her into eighth place on the WNBA’s all-time assists list.
While the news about Samuelson put a damper on the victory, Wade said the game was a telling moment for the Sky, who improved to 3-0 at home. They limited their turnovers to 14 and outrebounded the Mercury 39-32.
‘‘We talked about who we want to be,’’ Wade said. ‘‘We want to be a team that’s hard to play against. We want to be a winning team.
‘‘The players are buying in. They work so hard every day, and they play this game because they love it. . . . That showed.’’
Contributing: Khobi Price