Three-time MVP Lauren Jackson remains in Vail, Colo, rehabilitating her left hip surgery until Monday. She underwent the three-hour procedure Thursday and five hours afterward she was on a stationary bike.
She’s working with physical therapists twice a day and her return time could be shorter than the eight to 12 weeks estimated before surgery. That means Jackson, the WNBA’s third all-time leading scorer, could return in August. The Storm’s season-finale is Sept. 11.
Storm president and CEO Karen Bryant was sent a copy of the photo of Jackson on the bike, but the native Australian said via email she had no recollection of even being able to move. “My hair looked amazing!” she quipped, describing how she had wires everywhere and was drowsy from the epidural.
Jackson, 30, suffered the injury on June 21 in the opening half of a win against Tulsa. She believes she locked legs with fellow Australian C Liz Cambage, but is uncertain when looking at replays. Jackson, a 6-foot-6 post, simply remembers her leg giving out a few plays later and asking to be removed from the game. The diagnosis of a labral tear was made June 23.
Upon travel to Vail, Jackson learned from Dr. Marc Philippon of the Steadman Clinic that surgery was necessary. Philippon is known for his superior work on labral tears, completing the procedure on former Sounders FC striker Freddie Ljungberg and New York Yankees MVP Alex Rodriguez, among hundreds of other pro athletes.
The only snag was Jackson had to miss the team’s historic visit to the White House on Wednesday.
“Meeting (President) Obama would have been one of the highlights of my life but it wouldn’t win us another championship!!” Jackson wrote Saturday morning. “When we found out how serious this was there was no other option, especially because of the recovery time and actually having the opportunity to come back this season if I had it done straight away. There was no other option in my mind.”
This is Jackson’s second surgery in the past five months. She had surgery on a tendon near her Achilles in Australia in February. The injuries are unrelated.
“Emotionally, mentally it’s hard, but you know my Achilles is great and this was a freak accident that I have been told will just be stronger than before,” she wrote. “In my head, that keeps me going, knowing that I will be back on court soon makes me real happy. Also my mother is here, which has been just so important and my teammates and coaches have been so supportive and in regular contact. I just need to get through these first few weeks, which are going to be painful, then life is looking good!”
Teammate and close friend Sue Bird mentioned the importance of keeping Jackson involved in daily happenings, so she doesn’t drift apart. F Le’coe Willingham said plenty of calls have been made and Jackson is with them in spirit.
Seattle (4-3) lost to Connecticut (6-3) on Friday, moving to 1-1 this season without Jackson. The Storm plays Washington (2-5) on Sunday and Indiana (7-3) on Tuesday to complete the road trip.
“I’ve talked pretty much to all the girls and will continue to, same as Brian,” Jackson wrote of the players and coach Brian Agler. “Obviously I want to be there with them, but as they support me I’ll support them, and I really miss them so much right now. I’ll be back with them in no time, but it’s funny how when ur in a team and you identify so closely with them, they really become ur family.. I haven’t been off my phone to them in 4 days. And I know its driving mum and the docs crazy, I just need to get back to Seattle!!!”
*PHOTO CREDIT: Lauren Jackson shooting by WNBA/Getty Images