Power forward Wendy Palmer, who returned to her all-WNBA form of 1997 in the past three games after a frustrating month-plus with a broken toe, nearly didn't play in Monday's home game and returned to her North Carolina home Tuesday to be with a seriously ill uncle.

Coach Denise Taylor said Tuesday that Palmer called her Sunday night deeply upset about the uncle, who had surgery for a brain aneurysm. After some discussion, Palmer decided to play Monday because her uncle would want that.But he apparently became worse Monday night, Palmer learned after calling postgame from the locker-room phone, so she went home and will meet the Starzz in Detroit for Friday's game.

Palmer scored Utah's final 10 points and 19 overall Monday and had a team-high nine rebounds. She has scored 71 points since returning to the starting lineup three games ago when Elena Baranova sat out with Achilles tendinitis.

Also on the medical front Tuesday, an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) on Tammi Reiss' twice-sprained ankle revealed no broken bones or other severe damage, so she will be listed as day-to-day. The injury was termed a "very intense sprain." The team was considering putting her on injured reserve, meaning she would miss a mandatory three games and another player could have briefly filled her roster spot, but she will instead remain activated.

Utah practiced lightly Tuesday with just eight players (Baranova attended but didn't participate) and one coach. Assistant Fred Williams stayed home with flu-like symptoms.

The Starzz had a day off Wednesday and are to practice Thursday before leaving for Detroit to start a four-game, 10-day road trip.

Utah's next home game is July 27 with Phoenix.

That's the next chance for Starzz fans to benefit should Utah win. Under a Lady Foot Locker promotion, each time a WNBA home team wins, ticket stubs are worth $10 off any purchase of $50 or more, valid through Sept. 15.