Storm All-Star Lauren Jackson tweeted her anticipation in returning to Seattle on Tuesday for the 2011 season, but it it’ll be a longer wait in 2012.
A news release states Jackson, captain of her Australian nation’s Olympic team, will skip the beginning of the 2012 WNBA season to prepare for the London Games. The time period is expected to be three months prior to the Games.
“I am so excited about having the Opals as my only priority and commitment,” Jackson said in the release. “I truly believe that this is the perfect preparation for the Jayco Opals to achieve history through winning Olympic Gold.”
Opals coach Carrie Graf’s want to keep her team under thumb has been an issue since the Opals’ disappointing showing at the 2010 FIBA World Championships last fall. Jackson arrived late to training due to winning the WNBA title with the Storm and there were plenty of new faces on the squad. Teammate Elizabeth Cambage, the 6-foot-8 center taken with the second overall pick in the WNBA draft, has already stated she’ll miss the 2012 season to train with the Aussies.
Former Storm rookies Alison Lacey and Abby Bishop will miss the 2010 season, too, to increase their chances in making the national team. Jackson’s agreement was approved by the Storm where Bishop and Lacey were a surprise to coach Brian Agler.
Jackson, a three-time WNBA MVP, missed Storm games prior to the 2008 Olympics, where she injured her ankle and didn’t return for the postseason. The WNBA also has “gone dark” for the Games in the past, so Jackson may not miss many games when she returns in 2012.
Turning 30 in May, Jackson does enter the final year of her contract this summer. She has repeatedly stated her commitment to Seattle, including in the release where it says she’ll be back after the London Games.
*PHOTO CREDIT: Lauren Jackson by The Seattle Times