Fever hope their health will aid title push

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INDIANAPOLIS - For the final regular season game of the season, Lin Dunn's bench consisted of a three players.

Briann January, Shavonte Zellous and Katie Douglas were among the collection of players held out for the Fever's decisive win over Tulsa on Sunday, all with the hope they would be ready for the WNBA Playoffs.

Two days later, Dunn seems more confident that her team will return to full health as they get ready for another title run this weekend.

"We're optimistic," said Dunn when asked about the health of the team.

The coach hopes that January and Zellous (Concussion Symptoms) will return to practice before Friday's Eastern Conference Semi-Final opener against Atlanta at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Katie Douglas, who missed the last week with an illness, was on the practice floor Tuesday.

"It's just day-to-day. We take it one day at a time," said Dunn of those players. "We're prepared for them being back and we're also gonna prepare for them not being back."

Have the status question answered in the affirmative would be a good thing for the Fever, who face a lengthy Dream team that knocked them out of the 2011 WNBA Playoffs in the Eastern Conference Finals.

One player whose health is not in question is Tamika Catchings who unlike past seasons finds herself injury free as the post-season approaches. The guard returned from the Olympics strong to finish the season averaging 17.4 points and 7.6 rebounds a game for the 2012 season.

"She's as healthy as she has been in a long time," said Dunn of Catchings. "That's a big plus for us. So if we can stay healthy, I think we've got a great shot."

A title chance isn't all the Fever want, though, considering their close calls in the past few seasons. They were conference semi-finalists in in 2007, 2011 and went to the league finals in 2009, coming one game short of a WNBA title.

Dunn believes that experience could come in handy for the team which still has a number of player from the Eastern Conference Championship team on the roster.

"Douglas and (Tammy) Sutton-Brown, Catchings and January have played a five-game finals against Phoenix," said Dunn. "They know what the playoffs are all about."

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