Sky have questions to answer in frontcourt

Elizabeth Williams’ entry into the WNBA’s concussion protocols exposes the Sky’s lack of depth in the post.

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Dana Evans, Rebekah Gardner, Morgan Bertsch and Isabelle Harrison share a moment on the court together during the Sky’s preseason win over the Fever.

Dana Evans, Rebekah Gardner, Morgan Bertsch and Isabelle Harrison share a moment on the court together during the Sky’s preseason win over the Fever.

Gary Dineen/NBAE

The Sky’s frontcourt depth took a bit of a hit with the news that forward Elizabeth Williams has entered the WNBA’s concussion protocols.

Coach/general manager James Wade told the Sun-Times on Monday that he had received word Williams would be out after falling hard to the court while trying to block a shot during a preseason game Sunday. The WNBA’s concussion protocols prohibit a player from returning to play for at least two days, including the date of diagnosis. Williams must complete a required return-to-participation process.

Wade didn’t seem too concerned Williams would miss an extended period, saying she already was progressing, but her brief absence shines a light on questions about the Sky’s frontcourt depth.

Let’s start with center Li Yueru. Wade provided more detail about what exactly is keeping Li sidelined, saying she’s working through a lower-extremity injury. She arrived in Chicago injured and has been working with staff to return to form. Wade didn’t provide a timeline for when she might be available.

Li is one of the Sky’s players on an unprotected contract, meaning she could get cut before the season and not be guaranteed any part of her $62,285 contract. If she is waived during the regular season, she would earn a prorated salary.

The Sky’s roster locks in the frontcourt include Isabelle Harrison and Williams, both of whom are signed to protected veteran contracts. Another lock is Alanna Smith, who is signed to an unprotected contract. Wade, however, previously has said she will be on the final roster.

Ruthy Hebard’s spot also is solid. She is working to return to the court after giving birth to son Xzavier on April 11. Hebard has been active around Sky practices and said she expects to be back ‘‘hopefully soon.’’

With Williams, Li and Hebard all unavailable at the moment, that leaves only Harrison and Smith. That indicates at least one of the other frontcourt players in camp will make the Sky’s final roster.

Look no further than Morgan Bertsch. In two preseason games, Bertsch had nine points on 4-for-5 shooting and three rebounds in eight minutes Friday against the Wings and seven points, three assists and two rebounds in 22 minutes Sunday against the Fever.

Bertsch was drafted by the Wings with the 29th overall pick in 2019 before ultimately being waived. She signed training-camp contracts with the Sun and Wings in 2021 and 2022, respectively, but has yet to make a regular-season roster.

Wade said he isn’t surprised by the impact Bertsch has made thus far.

‘‘Morgan is a good player,’’ Wade said after the Sky’s 81-56 preseason win over the Fever Sunday. ‘‘There was always something that wasn’t lucky [for Morgan] in timing. When you get in training camp, you don’t really have a chance to be unhealthy or have something not go right because every team is looking to be complete by May 19 or whenever the season starts.

‘‘I followed her because we played against her overseas. She’s just really active, bouncy, long, smart, makes good plays and is deceptively quick. I think she has a future in the WNBA. She’s given herself a shot here.’’

The Sky play their final preseason game Saturday against the Lynx in Toronto. They open the regular season with two road games, May 19 against the Lynx and May 21 against the Mercury before their home opener on May 26 against the Mystics.

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