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Young gun Shyla Heal to miss Perth Lynx opener

Exciting teenager Shyla Heal will miss the start of the WNBL season for the Perth Lynx after being diagnosed with a stress reaction in her right foot.

Heal, the daughter of former Australian star Shane Heal, played in both of Perth’s pre-season games last weekend but reported pain in her foot on Monday during the team’s recovery walk. Her right foot is now encased in a moon boot.

Heal loomed as an exciting recruit for the Lynx after previously debuting in the league as a 14-year-old for South East Queensland. She also captained Australia to a bronze medal at this year’s under 17 World Cup and was selected in the All-Star five.

Heal signed a two-year contract to join Perth and Lynx coach Andy Stewart said they wouldn’t take any risks.

“It’s pretty minor, but she’s young and we’ve got to be conservative with it,” he said.

“We’ve monitored loads and done everything you can possibly think of and it’s popped up with an issue. If we push through and she got a fracture, that would be terrible. We don’t know precisely the amount of weeks she’ll miss yet.

“It’s shattering for a 17-year-old kid but the group has got around her. She’ll be out for at least a couple of weeks and then we’ll re-assess.”

The Lynx open their WNBL campaign against the Adelaide Lightning at the Bendat Basketball Centre tomorrow. Australian Opal Lauren Mansfield will be assessed tomorrow morning to decide whether she is fit to return from plantar fasciitis.

Mansfield was forced to withdraw from last month’s World Cup and will have limited minutes if she recovers well from this morning’s training session.

The Lynx have changed most of their squad with only Toni Farnworth and Kayla Steindl returning from the team that finished on top of the ladder last season.

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