The Seattle Storm went more than half of the 2012 regular season without all-star forward Lauren Jackson.
She will miss all of 2013.
According to a statement released Wednesday by the Storm, the Australia native will remain at home to rehabilitate her injured hamstring.
The 31-year-old franchise player said she has not fully recovered from the injury she sustained playing in the 2012 Summer Olympics for Australia.
“While it’s heartfelt and disappointing to not be joining my teammates in Seattle for the coming season, I have to be fair to the club and give them enough time to prepare for my absence this season and make the best decision for all concerned,” she said. “Although my surgery has been successful and postoperative opinion is that I will make a full recovery, clearly I was not going to be fit, ready or confident for the demands of the WNBA season.”
Per the release, the Storm suspended Jackson’s contract for the 2013 season. She said she plans to return to Seattle once the injury has fully healed, though this recent setback clouds her future with a franchise she helped lead to championships in 2004 and 2010.
Storm head coach and general manager Brian Agler said his club now must turn its attention to free agency.
“We support Lauren’s decision to take time off and let her body fully recover,” Agler said. “Lauren is the best player in the world at her position so it will be impossible to replace her but we are moving forward.”
Jackson joined the Storm in 2001 after being selected first in that year’s WNBA Draft. She appeared in just nine regular season games last year, scoring 10.2 points-per-game while averaging 18.6 minutes a night. She will turn 32 in May.
Ann Wauters not returning: The Storm also announced that Wauters, a veteran power forward who filled in admirably during Jackson’s absence, won’t return next season.
Ohhhh, boy. Both LJ AND Wauters gone this summer. That does not help. I suppose Camille Little could move to center if no good free agent can be signed, but with Phoenix undoubtedly picking Griner and not tanking this season the way they did last year, it’s going to be hard for the Storm to keep their string of postseason appearances alive. They just don’t have the depth to make up for the loss of two quality bigs and that failed roll of the dice with the Chicago trade in the hope of landing Griner or Della Donne looms huge.
Agler really has his work cut out for him this year.
Regretting even more trading Swin away. At this point when LJ comes back the club should trade her. The club needs to rebuild via the draft. That’s how they became the champion club it was in the past and needs to follow that blueprint again to get back there.