Tamika Catchings subs in early Tuesday

Updated: September 28, 2011, 2:30 AM ET
By Mechelle Voepel | ESPN.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana's Tamika Catchings got a major ovation from the home crowd at Conseco Fieldhouse last week when she was announced as the WNBA's 2011 MVP. Tuesday, though, the fans cheered wildly just because she walked out on the court.

Catchings suffered an injury to her right foot Sunday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against Atlanta and had to be carried off the court at Philips Arena. The Fever kept saying her availability for the series finale would be a game-time decision.

Catchings was dressed out Tuesday night and took the court during warm-ups, prompting the joyful reaction from the Fever faithful. But she did not start the game; Shavonte Zellous joined Katie Douglas, Tammy Sutton-Brown, Erin Phillips and Tangela Smith in the Fever's starting lineup.

Catchings watched the start of the first quarter standing up at the end of the Fever bench. At the 6:01 mark, the fans erupted in a standing ovation as she entered the game. In the first half, Catchings played 10½ minutes, getting two rebounds and an assist but missing all four of her shots from the field.

ESPN's Heather Cox reported that Catchings suffered a torn plantar fascia in her right foot.

Catchings missed 13 games during the 2007 WNBA regular season with a plantar fascia injury in her left foot. Then during the playoffs that year, she ruptured her Achilles' tendon and wasn't able to go overseas to compete.

She had to work hard in rehab to be able to come back not just for the Fever in 2008, but also to compete for the U.S. Olympic team, which won gold in Beijing.

Catchings' college career was cut short by an ACL injury her senior season at Tennessee. After rehabbing during the 2001 WNBA season, she was the league's rookie of the year in 2002.

Mechelle Voepel joined ESPN.com in 1996 and covers women's college hoops, the WNBA, the LPGA, and additional collegiate sports for espnW.