When Storm Head Coach Brian Agler stepped to the microphone during Wednesday’s ceremony at the White House honoring the Storm as 2010 WNBA champions, he had a surprise for everyone watching on NBA TV and via the Internet. Agler revealed that Storm center Lauren Jackson will undergo surgery on Thursday to repair the labrum in her left hip. Jackson’s decision to have surgery came following what Agler described as a difficult decision-making process after she initially opted to see whether the injury would heal with rest – something that was not guaranteed.
“I think she was torn,” Agler said by phone from Washington, D.C. “She had to really go based on how she was feeling. I think she felt like this would be the best action to take in regard to potentially getting back this year and, most importantly, getting healthy again.”
The Storm was involved as Jackson debated surgery and supported her decision. As soon as Jackson elected for surgery, the team helped her schedule the procedure with Dr. Marc J. Philippon of the Steadman Clinic, considered an expert on the hip. Previously, Philippon has performed surgery on the likes of NHL legend Mario Lemieux, former Seattle Sounders star Freddie Ljungberg and New York Yankees MVP Alex Rodriguez.
Had Jackson waited and eventually had surgery, it would have been difficult for her to return this season. The approximate 8-12 week timetable for recovery – an estimate that could be refined after the procedure is complete, though it will depend on how Jackson’s hip responds to rehab – could potentially put her back in time for the playoffs. Eight weeks from the surgery would be Aug. 25, with seven games left in the regular season, while 12 weeks would be Sept. 22 – around the start of the Western Conference Finals, should the Storm get that far.
For now, Agler can’t worry about when Jackson might return.
“There are really two things I’m focused on right now,” he said. “One is for her to be healthy. Two is our team, getting better day by day. It wouldn’t matter if LJ was with us or is not with us; we’re still focused on trying to get better and getting ready for each game.”
The Storm showed that kind of improvement at the defensive end Friday against the Minnesota Lynx, holding Minnesota 19 points below its previous season low for scoring. The Storm’s strong record without Jackson under Agler will be tested during a three-game road trip that kicks off Friday in Connecticut.
- Polish post Ewelina Kobryn, whom the Storm expects to sign, will meet the team tomorrow in Connecticut. Agler anticipates having her in uniform for Friday’s game.