Aces center Liz Cambage returned to practice Wednesday after four days away from the team.
Forward Jaime Nared returned to practice Wednesday after 10 weeks away from the team — with another opportunity to prove that she belongs on the roster.
Nared signed a seven-day contract with Las Vegas on Tuesday and practiced with renewed energy and perspective. The 6-foot-2-inch second-year wing was among the final cuts in training camp and eager to rejoin the Aces as they battle for supremacy in the WNBA.
“(She) already knows the way we do things around here,” Aces guard Kayla McBride said. “She knows the plays. She knows the schemes. She knows everything we want to do. There’s no acclimation. There’s no learning curve because she’s already aware of what we do.”
The Aces selected Nared out of Tennessee in the second round of the 2018 WNBA draft, and she played 31 games in her rookie season, averaging 2.5 points and 9.1 minutes off the bench. She spent the WNBA offseason playing in Israel and returned to Las Vegas for training camp.
She competed with several players for the final spot on the roster and was waived May 23, three days before the start of the season.
“No one wants to hear (that they get cut),” Nared said. “But you have to adjust. I think that’s what life is all about. … I think that’s what I did this summer. I wasn’t going to spend my summer sad that I wasn’t going to make the team. I was going to do something about it.”
Nared used the time to sharpen her skills in preparation for an opportunity like the one she received Tuesday. She also visited family across the country and was at a friend’s wedding when the team called.
She flew to Las Vegas on Monday, attended the team’s game against the Washington Mystics and mingled with the players in the locker room afterward.
She’s certainly happy to be back, and her teammates are happy to have her.
“Seems like she’s doing well,” McBride said. “Just being back part of our family.”
Nared said she hopes to contribute in any way possible and isn’t “trying to change the flow of things” as the team competes with the Mystics and Connecticut Sun for the top seed in the WNBA playoffs.
Aces coach Bill Laimbeer said Nared provides depth and athleticism on the wing.
“She understands all of our stuff. It’s seamless transition, and that helps,” Laimbeer said. “We’re taking a look at her as a future player in the long term for us.”
Cambage’s future is much more secure. The Aces gave her the past two games off to rest, and she said she feels refreshed with 11 games left in the regular season.
“I just needed a breather,” she said. “There’s been a lot going on during July, feeling mentally and physically worn down. I’m glad Bill gave me a break. Everyone was super supportive.”