- Mechelle Voepel, espnW.com
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Tulsa Shock players Temeka Johnson and Kayla Pedersen were diagnosed with staph infections in August, causing both players to miss a handful of games.
Saturday's loss to Seattle was the first time since Aug. 17 that Johnson and Pedersen played in the same game. Staph (short for staphylococcus aureus) infections were never officially listed as the cause of their absence from games, but the organization and both players confirmed that's what they'd been battling.
Pedersen, a second-year forward whom Tulsa selected with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2011 WNBA draft, missed seven consecutive games. Johnson, a point guard in her eighth season in the WNBA but first in Tulsa, sat out Aug. 25, returned for one game and then missed three more contests.
"I was lucky that I didn't have to stay out as long as Kayla did," Johnson told ESPNW on Saturday. "I've watched her fighting very hard to come back. It really takes a lot out of you."
Pedersen played 16 minutes in her first game back Thursday. Saturday, she started and had two points and seven rebounds in just more than 22 minutes. Johnson came off the bench and played 18½ minutes, with five points and three assists.
The Shock have dealt with staph infections each of the three years the franchise has been in Tulsa. Four players were infected in 2010, with Shanna Zolman the only player missing multiple games (four) at the time. Last season, Shock guard Ivory Latta was sidelined with a staph infection as well. Latta is Tulsa's leading scorer this year.
Tulsa Shock players Temeka Johnson and Kayla Pedersen were diagnosed with staph infections in August, causing both players to miss a handful of games