Dream's McCoughtry still recovering from serious knee injury

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ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Dream forward Angel McCoughtry's status for this season is uncertain as she continues to recover from a serious knee injury.

Atlanta opened training camp this week without McCoughtry, the two-time Olympian and two-time WNBA scoring champion. Coach Nicki Collen said Thursday she has to prepare as if McCoughtry could miss the full season.

"We are prepared to be without her for the entire '19 season," Collen said. "That is the approach I went into with free agency, that we couldn't wait on her and we had to be prepared."

Collen said McCoughtry, 32, will be evaluated "month to month, strength test to strength test." She said McCoughtry has good range of motion in the knee but still has "a lot of strength-building to do."

McCoughtry, a five-time All-Star, suffered torn ligaments in her left knee on Aug. 7, 2018 and missed the playoffs as the Dream lost to Washington in the semifinals.

Collen said McCoughtry's uncertain status led the team to acquire forward Nia Coffey in a draft-day trade with Las Vegas and sign free-agent forward Haley Peters.

Collen said the team will be patient with McCoughtry's rehabilitation.

"She's not a spring chicken anymore," Collen said. "... This is her first major injury. We have to take it slow and steady and get her strong. ... I wouldn't expect her out on the court anytime soon."

McCoughtry has averaged 19.2 points in nine seasons, all with Atlanta. She sat out the 2017 season and returned to average 16.5 points and a career-high 6.0 rebounds before the injury last season.

Guard Blake Dietrick said having to finish last season without the high-scoring McCoughtry will help the Dream prepare for being without the forward for at least part of this season.

"Everybody has to step up and I think we're ready for that because Angel went down last year and we're prepared to play without her," Dietrick said. "We'll be ready for that."

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