Taurasi (back) could return Friday, source says

PHOENIX -- Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi has been cleared for full contact five months after suffering a back injury that has caused her to miss the entire WNBA season thus far, a source told ESPN on Monday, making her return to the court imminent.

Taurasi, who had surgery on April 24 to repair a bulging disk in her L-3 vertebrae, could play as early as Friday, when the Mercury host the New York Liberty. A decision won't be made until later this week.

Taurasi was expected to be out 10 to 12 weeks. Wednesday will mark 10 weeks.

She returned to practice in mid-June but was shooting set shots, running on the treadmill and doing aqua therapy at four weeks. Doctors didn't want her jumping that soon after surgery to let the disk and scar heal.

Taurasi has been spending her practices recently trying to get herself back into game shape before taking the court in a game.

The Mercury are 5-5 without Taurasi and have won their past three.