The Chicago Sky won a playoff series for the first time in franchise history on Tuesday night. The Sky staged a 17-point fourth quarter comeback, knocking the top-seeded Atlanta Dream out of the WNBA playoffs.
For the Sky, it’s been a season of ups and downs due to injuries and illness. So the professionals at IBJI’s Health Performance Institute (HPI) have been cheering loudly for Sky center Sylvia Fowles because they played a major role in helping her return to the game she loves.
Fowles, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, had major hip surgery in the off season. She returned to the Chicago area and did most of her post-surgery rehabilitation at HPI, a collaborative care orthopaedic rehabilitation, sports performance and wellness facility.
Five days a week, Fowles was at HPI, frequently working with physical therapist Andrea Staley. Fortunately for Fowles, Staley had been through the same hip surgery. At 6’6”, Fowles is the Sky’s tallest player. She towers over Staley, who is just 5’3,” but that wasn’t a problem for the two. “Andrea is little, but she packs a lot of power,” says Fowles. At HPI, Fowles also worked closely with physical therapist Paul Schmidt and massage therapist Puja Halvadia.
Fowles, who was named the WNBA’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, was determined not to miss the entire 2014 season. Initial reports were that she would return to the basketball court in four to six months. Thanks in part to her intensive rehabilitation work with her team at HPI, Fowles was back on the court in just over three months.
During her rehabilitation, Fowles also took advantage of some of the super high-tech equipment available at HPI, like the AlterG treadmill. The AlterG reduces gravity’s impact on the body by “unweighting” patients, allowing them to rehab and train without subjecting their bodies to the pounding on joints that a regular workout would entail. “The AlterG is awesome,” says Fowles. “It’s like walking and running on air.”
Fowles is back in top form and has been putting up big numbers for the Sky. In Tuesday’s contest, she added 13 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. She gives her HPI team a lot of the credit for helping her return to play much earlier than expected. “They helped me get back so much faster than anyone expected,” says Fowles. “It’s so great to be back out on the floor with the other girls instead of watching from the sidelines,” according to Fowles. Fowles and the Sky will open the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday against the Indiana Fever. Go Sky!