Storm point guard Sue Bird had surgery Thursday to remove a cyst from her left knee and will miss the entire 2013 WNBA season.
Storm All-Star point guard Sue Bird underwent surgery Thursday to remove a cyst in her left knee, according to the team.
The recovery time for the procedure, which removed damage sustained last season, is about six months.
“I feel fine and am at home resting,” Bird said in a released statement. “Looking forward to being in Seattle with my teammates!”
Bird, 32, said she’ll be on crutches for about six weeks as she begins rehabilitation in Connecticut. When she’s able to travel, she’ll return to Seattle to complete rehab and attend Storm games.
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“(Her presence) could be very good,” said Storm coach and general manager Brian Agler. “She’s got a wealth of experience. She communicates well. She’ll help the younger players and veteran players.”
Bird, who has led the Storm to two WNBA championships and a league-record nine consecutive playoff appearances, will miss the entire season.
Because Bird is rehabilitating with the Storm’s athletic staff, however, she will count against the team’s 11-player roster limit for the regular season and be paid her $107,500 guaranteed base salary.
Starters Tanisha Wright and Camille Little join reserves Tina Thompson, Shekinna Stricklen and Alysha Clark as returning players from the 2012 team that finished 16-18 and lost in the opening round of the playoffs.
Agler signed free agents Temeka Johnson, Noelle Quinn and Nakia Sanford to possibly fill the starting positions left by Bird, Lauren Jackson, who will miss the season due to injury, and Katie Smith, who signed with New York as a free agent.
The Storm has played without Jackson in the past. But Bird has missed just 22 games in her 11-year career, so finding a replacement for her was crucial.
“We talked to multiple point guards in the offseason,” Agler said of guards like Lindsey Harding (Los Angeles) and Ivory Latta (Washington), who were also free agents. “If you look at statistics, Temeka was right there with the best of them — percentages, scoring, assist-to-turnover ratio — all of them.”
Storm first-round draft pick Tianna Hawkins, a 6-foot-3 forward from Maryland, should earn a roster spot. Agler is also evaluating seven other players in camp who could fill the final roster spot.
One is Samantha MacKay, the first player from Dayton to be invited to a WNBA training camp. MacKay, a 5-8 guard, arrived Thursday. She is expected to practice Friday after Agler makes a roster cut to remain within the 15-player training camp limit (Bird does not count against the training-camp roster limit).
Agler also has former Gonzaga star Katelan Redmon in camp. The free agent was a third-round pick in the 2012 draft and played seven games with the New York Liberty.
“Growing up, the Storm is always what you talked about,” said Redmon, a Spokane native. “It’s really nice being here and being part of the program.”
The Storm did not practice Thursday. Agler typically doesn’t hold four consecutive practices. The team opened camp Sunday.
Seattle plays its first exhibition game against Los Angeles at Long Beach State’s Pyramid on Sunday.
• The Storm holds its annual “Stormin the Lake” at the Green Lake Community Center basketball courts from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The team’s complete training-camp roster and coaching staff will be available for pictures and autographs. The new Storm Dance Troupe will perform.
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @JaydaEvans.