The Canberra Capitals have shown faith and re-signed young gun Abbey Wehrung for the 2017-18 WNBL season following a horror foot injury.
Wehrung was felled in the Capitals' penultimate game last season when the guard badly damaged her ankle against the Bendigo Spirit on February 12.
The 21-year-old said she had never felt pain like it after snapping a ligament and splitting a tendon which led to avulsion fractures, but Wehrung is determined to get back on court.
"It's been pretty long and tough at times but it's nice when I see the improvements and they've really started to happen lately so it's exciting," Wehrung said.
"Originally they said three months and obviously it's taking longer but it's an ankle so it was always going to be slow.
"I still can't run on it but I'm doing rehab every day and luckily it's the off season so I've got a bit of time up my sleeve and hopefully I can be back in a few weeks."
Before injury ended her season Wehrung enjoyed a breakout campaign and earned a starting position under first-year coach Paul Goriss with 131 points and 19 assists in 16 appearances.
Goriss has labelled Wehrung a future Capitals captain which the young veteran admitted would be "pretty special" after joining the side as a shy 18-year-old.
"I've never really thought about that but if that comes up that's really exciting, it doesn't really feel like this is my fourth season, it's flown by, " Wehrung said.
"I was kind of timid and scared when I first came in... but I think I've come a long way and it's exciting to know Gorrie has faith in me and believes in my game.
"I definitely feel the expectation to get better but it just happens with Gorrie and I'm excited to see where I can go."
Goriss has signed four players with an eye towards a 10-man roster next season and named Werhung an integral part to the Capitals future.
"Abbey was definitely one of our key priorities at the end of last season," Goriss said.
"Graffy [former capitals coach Carrie Graf] saw something in her three years ago and gave her an opportunity and we see Abbey being a long term Capital."
Goriss will reduce his full-time roster by four players this season with the Opals assistant coach keen to give opportunities to ACT talent.
"We're working closely with Basketball ACT to provide a pathway for girls in Canberra to be a UC Capital and I think that's important," he asid.
"We want to recruit from within the ACT there are some good girls coming through so it's about giving them an opportunity and showing them the WNBL is a pathway other than going to USA college."