Taurasi, the leading scorer in the WNBA and the league's reigning Most Valuable Player, took a hard fall on her tail bone two-thirds of the way through the third quarter of her Phoenix Mercury's game against the Washington Mystics Sunday afternoon.
Taurasi landed with a sickening thud on the Verizon Center court, and was helped to the Mercury bench. She returned a minute later, but hobbled so badly on one trip up and down the floor that she was scratched for the rest of the game.
"I guess I'm going to get the rest I wanted, huh," said Taurasi through a wan smile after the game. She said she would be day-to-day as the Mercury travel to Atlanta to play the Dream Tuesday.
In an interview with FanHouse before the game, Taurasi, who had 18 points in 21 minutes Sunday, said the grind of playing year-round for seven straight years may lead her to carve out a period for rest, relaxation, and decompression.
Considering that the lion's share of her basketball salary is earned when she plays for a Turkish team during the fall and winter, Taurasi, 28, may take a summer vacation from the WNBA.
"I'm going to eventually need to take some time off to rest," said Taurasi. "That's just to rest my body. That's a physical thing I have to do. When that time comes and I have to make the decision, I'll make it."
If and when she does take a break, Taurasi, widely considered the league's best player, said she's not worried about whether the league, still struggling to gain mainstream acceptance in its 14th season, will take a PR hit.
Taurasi elaborated on comments she made last week to the Hartford Courant about the effects that the grueling schedule exacts on many top-shelf WNBA players.
"It's getting to the point where you start breaking down little by little," said Taurasi. "Next thing you know, you have a serious injury. That's the last thing I want to do."
Already this season, the league has lost All-Star caliber talent like Washington's Alana Beard (ankle), Los Angeles' Candace Parker (shoulder), and Minnesota's Candice Wiggins (torn Achilles) to season-long injuries.
While Beard did not play overseas this past offseason, a number of players have groused privately about having to work nearly a full calendar year without a reasonable amount of time off between their seasons. Taurasi is one of the few players to publicly express her concerns.
In Taurasi's case, that slate has seen her go from playing in Europe to playing domestically in the WNBA and then internationally for USA Basketball on either an Olympics or World Championship team virtually continuously since she graduated from Connecticut in 2004, after leading the Huskies to three national titles.
"Physically, it's getting to be a problem," said Taurasi, who has won two Olympic gold medals. "You're seeing it around the league. You see it a lot where [players] are injured and getting hurt and making it difficult to play year-round. If you think about it, no other professional sport does it."
The WNBA, operated by the NBA for all of its 14 seasons, has always played a summer schedule to avoid going head-to-head with the college basketball season and the NBA, but permits its players to play overseas, where salaries are generally higher.
As a player at the top of the WNBA's wage scale, Taurasi likely earns about $101,000 in base salary, though with bonuses for being named an All-Star, for winning the Most Valuable Player award, as she did last year, and for winning a championship, that figure could go up to about $125,000.
While that's a generous salary for most American workers, it's a far cry from the $5.4 million average NBA salary. Taurasi is thought to earn in the high six figures playing in Turkey, which dwarfs the smaller salary she makes in the WNBA, with the trade-off that she must earn it outside the United States.
In addition, Taurasi takes exception to the WNBA's roster size, which permits each team to carry 11 players, two fewer than two years ago. Unlike the NBA, whose teams have a 12-player active roster with three additional inactive, WNBA teams have no provisions for inactive players.
For teams such as Washington, Los Angeles and Minnesota, they must either carry injured players on their roster or drop them to fill the spots.
"To think you can only have 11 players?" said Taurasi. "You're two injuries away from being down to nine and not being able to complete a practice. That puts so much pressure on the other players too. There's a lot of really good players who are out of the jobs because [the roster limit] is down to 11."
Taking time off in the prime of a potential Hall of Fame career could open Taurasi up for criticism, but she's ready for whatever people say.
"I've done a lot in my career and at one point you have to make selfish decisions that help you," said Taurasi. "You're talking about a WNBA season, another world championship and another overseas season. This is just a personal decision I'm going to have to make."
NOTE -- An earlier version of this story erroneously reported that Candace Parker did not play overseas this past season.