The Seattle Storm’s championship hopes took a major step backward Wednesday with the news that three-time league MVP Lauren Jackson will miss the entire 2013 season while she continues to rehab her surgically repaired hamstring.
Jackson will remain in her native Australia, the team announced. The team said her contract will be suspended and she is expected to return in 2014.
“We support Lauren’s decision to take time off and let her body fully recover,” said Storm Head Coach and General Manager Brian Agler in a press release. “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 said she felt she needed to be fair to the team and make the decision now, three months ahead of the season.
“Although my surgery has been successful and post-operative medical 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,” said Jackson. “The Seattle Storm have been so supportive to me over many seasons, it’s only fair I give them the best possible opportunity and time to prepare for this coming season.”
The Storm currently has nine players on the roster. They will pick sixth in the upcoming WNBA draft.
Jackson played in only nine Storm games last season due to the Olympics. She stayed in Australia to train with her national team leading up to the Games. Jackson averaged 10.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game for the Storm.
The Storm also announced that center Ann Wauters will not return. She plans to spend the summer resting and with her family.
“We also truly appreciate the time and effort Ann and her family gave to the Storm in 2012. She is a fantastic person and great player. We wish her the best of luck in the future,” said Agler.