Storms starts season without stars Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird, who are hampered by knee injuries.

Share story

The Storm begin the 2017 regular season against reigning WNBA champion Los Angeles on Saturday without two of its biggest stars Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird – both sidelined due to knee injuries.

It’s a devastating loss and potentially an on-going concern for Seattle considering there’s no timetable for their return.

“Sue and Breanna have not been cleared to play for today’s game in Los Angeles and continue to be listed as day-to-day,” Storm president Alisha Valavanis said in a statement released by the team. “They will be evaluated again in advance of tomorrow’s home opener against Indiana.”

The Storm hosts the Fever 4 p.m. Sunday in a home opener at KeyArena.

Stewart, a 6-foot-4 forward entering her second season, sprained her posterior cruciate ligament in her right knee on Jan. 7 while playing for the Shanghai Baoshan Dahua in the Women’s Chinese Basketball Association.

The injury did not require surgery, but Stewart missed both exhibitions and returned to training camp workouts recently wearing a knee brace.

Meanwhile, Bird, a 5-9 point guard entering her 15th season, underwent a scope in April on her left knee. She also sat out both preseason games and participated in her first 5-on-5 drills at Tuesday’s practice.

“More than anyone, I would love to be out there for opening weekend,” Bird said this week. “At the same time, I know it’s a 34-game season so I’m just trying to make the right choices and make the right decisions for myself and my body and also for the team.

“It’s a little bit of juggling act. … I need to get to a point where I’m playing consecutive minutes and I haven’t even smelled that yet.”

In 2016, Stewart led the Storm in scoring (18.3 points), rebounds (9.3) and blocks (1.9) while winning Rookie of the Year honors and being selected second team All-WNBA.

Bird, a first-team All-WNBA pick, led the league 5.8 assists and was third on the team in scoring at 12.8 points last season.