Storm star Lauren Jackson underwent surgery in Australia to repair a torn meniscus in her right knee and a chronic problem in her left Achilles tendon, and will miss at least the start of the WNBA season, according to her manager, John Elliott.
Elliott told Basketball Australia that Jackson is unlikely to train on the court with the Storm until early June, or play until July. The Storm’s first game is May 16.
“Seattle will have to make that decision, but I can’t see her getting back to Seattle in the short term,” he said. “If they’ve got to replace her because she can’t make May 16, they might go out and buy another person to replace her.”
Basketball Australia said orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Young has advised that Jackson will require a four-month recovery program following the surgery, which he believes has successfully resolved both injuries.
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Jackson, 32, has dealt with injury problems in recent years and missed all of the last WNBA season after hamstring surgery. In 2011, she left her Russian team early because of the Achilles. She played 13 games that WNBA season, undergoing surgery on her left labrum in June 2011.
Jackson, a three-time MVP of the WNBA, spent about 10 months rehabilitating from the January 2013 hamstring surgery before returning to play in China.
“It was bothering her to the point of where she couldn’t play,” said Storm coach and general manager Brian Agler, whose communication with Jackson has been through text messaging. “She and her mother elected to not finish out the season (playing for a team in China), go home and immediately have the surgery.”
Jackson was averaging 22 points and 9.5 rebounds in the Chinese league.
Meanwhile, a new collective bargaining agreement in the WNBA is expected this week, which would open up free agency.
Seven of the Storm’s 11 players on the 2013 roster are contracted to return, including point guard Sue Bird. After missing all of last season, Bird recently led her Russian team to the Russian Cup championship.
“What Lauren explained to me today was the fact that one, she was really disappointed,” Agler said. “She said she was just starting to play smooth again. She was really starting to feel herself, then the chronic Achilles situation started holding her back, then she had the issue with her knee.
“She doesn’t like letting anybody down. Of course we’d love to have her play. But our top priority is her health.”