Storm All-Star Lauren Jackson underwent successful knee and Achilles surgery late Monday in Melbourne. The injuries were discovered while playing in China and she’s expected to need a four-month recovery in order to extend her career until she’s 40. But that means she’ll likely miss a second WNBA season, which opens training camp in April.
Seattle tips its 15th season on May 16 against Los Angeles at KeyArena.
Storm coach Brian Agler said he had numerous scenarios in place as far as moving forward with the 2014 Storm roster without Jackson, an Australian native who’s also focused on joining her Opals team in the fall to compete in the FIBA World Championship.
A three three-time WNBA MVP, Jackson, 32, missed the 2013 WNBA season due to hamstring surgery in January of that year. Agler, who’s also the team’s general manager, suspended her contract in expectation of her returning this season.
“We’re just in the mode right now of evaluating the draft,” said Agler of the Storm selecting seventh in the opening round with two later picks. Agler typically hasn’t kept any drafted player past the first-round.
“We’ve got a lot of our roster back,” Agler continued of seven of his team’s 11 players returning, including All-Star PG Sue Bird from a knee injury. “We’re just really going to have to focus on developing a lot of depth in the post. Our focus is going to go there, especially in free agency. But we have to wait until we know exactly what we’re dealing with here when it comes to Lauren.”
How specifically Jackson’s likely absence is handled business-wise is uncertain. The WNBA and its players haven’t announced a new collective bargaining agreement for this summer. Jackson’s previous contract with the Storm will be grandfathered in, but what money, roster space, etc. Agler will have is yet to be determined.
In a Tuesday conversation with Indiana All-Star Tamika Catchings, the current WNBA Players Association President, she said the sides have met since new Los Angeles ownership was announced last week.
“We’re on the same page as far as the league and what needs to be done,” Catchings said. “Something should come out really soon.”
Until then, here’s an open letter from Jackson about the surgery and experience playing in China posted on Jackson’s self-named website:
Well I’m back…not quite the way I expected but very happy to be back in OZ!
China was culturally challenging, and ohhhhh how I missed the Australian Summer and my beloved barbeques! Not a lot of red meat for an aussie country girl like me to be found in China! Harbin City where I was based was just freezing…..minus 20 or 30 sometimes! So to get the last month of summer in Australia is soooooo good.
My team Heilongjiang Shenda went 11 – 11 for the regular season and we made the playoffs. Unfortunately I suffered a knee injury in December which progressively got worse. Halfway through the second round things deteriorated and I started getting very sharp pain, then the inevitable happened and I had to make a decision to stop as I could not run. I offered to stay and support my team mates in the playoffs, who were all such beautiful girls but the team management said I could head back to Melbourne and get it fixed. I jetted in on Sunday and had surgery last night (Monday). I’m pleased as David Young my surgeon is telling me that both operations on my Achilles and Knee went well and he expects I will make a full recovery. My knee injury was found to be a lateral meniscus tear and was torn off the bone, which was upsetting to hear because it is a long recovery time. But he assures me that my joints are wonderful and he expects me to play till I’m 40.
I just now need to rest and recover and do some rehab.
Great to be back even though I’m going to be hobbling around for a while!
Love Lauren x