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The latest news and analysis on college and pro women's basketball.

August 19, 2008 at 7:18 PM

Lauren Jackson out

Mark Storm star Lauren Jackson down as the latest to undergo surgery that will cause her to miss the post-Olympic portion of the WNBA season. Jackson, a 6-foot-5 forward, plans to have arthroscopic surgery on her right ankle in Sydney, which will take four to six weeks to heal. If she’s lucky and the Storm can win without her, she’ll be back in time for the WNBA Finals slated to begin on Oct. 1.
But I wouldn’t count the Storm as that lucky. True, Seattle went 3-2 without Jackson prior to the break and only Houston and Connecticut ended on hot notes, posing the most threat to date for post-Olympic play. But the Storm has five games on the road and plays five teams with playoff dreams. Only six games separate the worst (Phoenix) and best (San Antonio) teams in the West. Plus the Storm wants to stay away from LA in the opening round in case Candace Parker and Lisa Leslie find a point guard that can help them tear it up in the postseason.
Seattle will need a sure-fire scorer and doesn’t have one to date to draw attention to even begin to help Sue Bird, Swin Cash, or Sheryl Swoopes be effective long-term. And don’t tell me Tanisha Wright or Camille Little are ready to take on that role. They’ll have to continue to play big, but I’m not seeing them lead the Storm through the playoffs until Jackson returns.
This injury must be bad in order for Jackson to ditch the WNBA. But as coach Brian Agler said on Monday, “not enough to hold her out of some real high-level competition.” So, the WNBA regular season isn’t “high-level” enough for Jackson? Reading the articles, I thought she’d pull through the WNBA season. Yet she must be doing that for the Olympics, which she’ll continue to play in, and will have to shut it down in order to return to Russia where she makes her real money.
Either way, it’s a lot for Bird and the rest of the Storm to now carry. Five games were doable, but not through the remainder of the season and some postseason play. Agler may have an “equal opportunity offense” but he needed Jackson as the star figure in it.

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