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Perth Lynx sweat on recruit’s fitness ahead of season opener

Perth Lynx will decide this morning whether boom recruit Lauren Mansfield features in today’s season opener against Adelaide, but exciting teenager Shyla Heal has been ruled out with a foot injury.

Mansfield hasn’t played since withdrawing from Australia’s World Cup campaign with plantar fasciitis.

The 28-year-old guard has been eased back into training and had a fitness test yesterday.

Coach Andy Stewart said she would be assessed again this morning.

“She might play limited minutes,” Stewart said.

“She’s got to sleep on it. She’s done a staggered recovery and we’ve increased her levels on a consistent basis.

“She’s handling more stress but we have to time it right.”

Heal will be sidelined for at least two weeks after being diagnosed with a stress reaction in her right foot after last weekend’s pre-season games against Bendigo.

The 17-year-old loomed as one of the exciting elements of Perth’s team.

Her dad Shane is a former Australian Boomers star and Shyla captained her country to a bronze medal at the under-17 World Cup earlier this year.

Perth have made significant changes to their side that finished top last season before failing to make it through to the grand final.

Sami Whitcomb, Natalie Burton, Alice Kunek and Alex Ciabattoni all accepted offers to play in Europe, but the Lynx have recruited well, adding both Mansfield and Katie Ebzery from the Opals squad, plus last year’s WNBL All-Star Five member Asia Taylor.

Ebzery arrived back in Australia only last week after winning a silver medal at the World Cup and said the team didn’t look like a new group.

“They were playing like a team that has been together for a long time,” Ebzery said.

“I could see that with the defence and also with the way the offence was clicking together. It’s been easy to settle in.”

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