Lauren Jackson, a three-time WNBA MVP, underwent a third knee surgery late-May. She is expected to need 12 weeks to rehabilitate the “minor” procedure and still plans to participate in the FIBA World Championship with the Opals this fall.
First-year national team coach Brendan Joyce confirmed the procedure to Australian media this week to quell rumors about the global star. Jackson, a 6-foot-6 post, is a four-time Olympian and two-time WNBA champion. She hasn’t played a full season with the Storm since winning the title in 2010 during a MVP season.
Since then, Jackson has undergone a rash of surgeries to repair various injuries and missed time to compete with the Opals in the 2012 Olympic Games. The latest injury was suffered in China. She left her Heilongjiang Shenda Basketball Club’s season early to have a procedure in February to repair a torn meniscus in her right knee and chronic problem in her left Achilles tendon.
Joyce told The Seattle Times in May that Jackson underwent an arthroscope late-April on the same knee because there was some swelling. He anticipated having Jackson, 33, playing full-on for a training camp in July and tour through Japan.
Due to the third procedure late-May, Joyce doesn’t expect Jackson to return until a camp in August before an exhibition tour through Europe. Joyce is adamant with Australian media Jackson will play in the World Championship in Turkey from Sept. 27 through Oct. 5, even if it’s limited minutes off the bench.
Jackson still plans to return to Seattle in 2015 for her 13th WNBA season. She has one year remaining on her Storm contract, which has been suspended since 2013. She underwent hamstring surgery in January 2013, missing that ensuing Storm season.
Before a possible return to Seattle, however, Jackson is signed to play in Australia’s WNBL.
“We’re really taking it slow with her,” Joyce told The Seattle Times when he traveled the Opals through the states to play WNBA teams in May. “With great players, you don’t want to rush them. We’re going to take it slow and make sure she’s 100 percent.”