The Dallas Wings announced that forward Natasha Howard will miss three-six weeks with a broken foot. Howard suffered the injury during the Wings' season-opening 87-79 victory over the Chicago Sky. Dallas signed Monique Billings to a salary cap hardship contract as well, the team announced.

Howard, 32, has played in the WNBA since 2014. Her presence will be missed on the floor to say the least, especially with Satou Sabally also being out with an injury.

Howard is a two-time WNBA All-Star. She joined the Wings in 2023 and recorded 16.5 points per game on 45.8 percent field goal shooting. Howard also averaged 8.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 1.2 blocks per outing.

She played well during the Wings' win on Wednesday. Howard finished the game with 15 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists. Dallas will need the team's other forwards to step up in a pivotal manner amid Howard's absence. Howard is not only a reliable player on the floor, but she offers important veteran leadership.

Who will step up amid Natasha Howard's absence?

Dallas Wings forward Natasha Howard (6) looks to score as Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese (5) defends during the second half at College Park Center.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Teaira McCowan finished Wednesday's game with an 18-point, 13-rebound double-double. The 27-year-old may be ready to take a step forward in 2024.

She has provided steady production throughout her career. McCowan has averaged right around 11 points per game during her time in the WNBA. She's a strong rebounder as evidenced by her 13 boards against the Sky.

At 6'7, McCowan will be asked to protect the basket for Dallas. Her defensive effort will play an important role in the team's success moving forward, especially with Howard expected to miss time.

McCowan has averaged 1.2 blocks per game during her career. She had three blocks during the Wings' victory over the Sky.

It goes without saying, but McCowan's ability to score the basketball should not be overlooked. But she can drastically impact winning by protecting the paint and making things happen in the rebound department.

Wings' outlook after first game of season

Dallas went back-and-forth with Chicago before pulling away in the fourth quarter. Arike Ogunbowale led the way with 25 points and she made a number of clutch baskets down the final stretch of the contest.

There is reason to be optimistic about this Wings team. They feature an attention-catching combination of veteran talent and young players with potential. The injury concerns to Sabally and Howard are obviously far from ideal. If Dallas can stay afloat amid their absences, though, they will find themselves in a good position to compete once they return.

The Wings will host the Sky once again on Saturday night before embarking on a five-game road trip. Starting the season with a 2-0 record would be a major confidence boost before leaving for the trip. Of course, Chicago will certainly want to jump into the win column for the first time this year.

Saturday night's tip-off is scheduled for 8 PM EST. Meanwhile, we will continue to monitor and provide updates on Natasha Howard's injury status as they are made available.