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Seattle Storm Center Lauren Jackson Returns From Injury Against The New York Liberty

Seattle Storm center Lauren Jackson injured her left hip on June 21 in a road game against the Tulsa Shock and is now expected to miss 8-12 weeks. Jackson had successful surgery to repair the labrum in her left hip and remove a small bone spur that was part of the condition at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado. She has already begun rehabilitation while the team prepares to move on without her.

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Seattle Storm Center Lauren Jackson Will Return From Injury Against The New York Liberty Tonight

Seattle Times reporter Jayda Evans tweeted earlier tonight that Seattle Storm center Lauren Jackson will be making her return to the court tonight at KeyArena after being out due to a hip injury for about nine weeks.

However, it remains unclear whether Jackson will start or enter the game off the bench* - although Evans said she will come off the bench, the Seattle Storm have tweeted that Storm coach Brian Agler was unsure about whether start. Agler chatted with Kevin Pelton of StormBasketball.com earlier this week about the pros and cons of starting her compared to bringing her off the bench.

"That's part of the issue - is it better to get her playing when she's warm right after warmups?" said Agler. "Because it's easier to manage minutes when they don't start. She's going to have limited minutes. What that limit is, we're still gauging. If there's a plan on paper that I can give you, we don't have that, but there are a lot of generalities that we're discussing."

Jackson has been out since the second quarter of the Storm's first game in Tulsa on June 21 where she suffered a hip injury. After an initial evaluation, the word was that she'd be out 8-12 weeks so returning tonight is within that rather wide window of what the Storm expected.

Also as expected, Storm guard Tanisha Wright will be back with the team tonight after missing their previous game in Phoenix for family reasons.

*Update: Evans is now tweeting that Jackson will start tonight.

For more details on Jackson's injury, visit our storystream.

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Seattle Storm Center Lauren Jackson To Have Surgery Thursday, Miss Most Of Regular Season

Seattle Storm coach Brian Agler dropped a bit of a bombshell during the team's visit to the White House in honor of their 2010 WNBA Championship.

As tweeted by Seattle Times reporter Jayda Evans, Agler announced on the White House lawn today that star center Lauren Jackson will be having surgery tomorrow meaning that she is expected to be out 8-12 weeks.

“This is a really, really tough decision,” said Jackson in a Storm press release, “but after talking with my doctors and my family, we felt that immediate surgery is the best course of action. With something painful like this hip injury, I want to be especially proactive. I plan to stay in Seattle to be here with my team and try my best to be back on the court as soon as possible.  My goal is to be at full strength by the end of the season.”

 

While it's obviously a huge blow to lose a player of Jackson's caliber, it's also worth emphasizing that the Storm are 4-2 with only a sub-par contribution from Jackson thus far this season. The Storm have been without Jackson for most of the last two wins and was averaging career-lows across the board with 9.2 points per game on 30 percent shooting and 4.8 rebounds per game.

Not that she wouldn't have gotten better or that her very presence doesn't help the Storm especially on defense, but in terms of the team's performance this season it will be less of a loss than it has been in past seasons when she has averaged 19.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game prior to this year.

Nevertheless, the past also provides reason for hope as the Storm still aim to make the playoffs in a competitive Western Conference without Jackson. Kevin Pelton of StormBasketball.com reminds us that the Storm have actually played extremely well without Jackson over the past four years - their 15-9 record turns out to be a higher win percentage than any team in the league over that time period.

Last, if there is a silver lining to this whole ordeal, it's that Storm point guard Sue Bird tends to shine in those stretches without Jackson to the point of looking like a MVP candidate. As described on SB Nation's Swish Appeal this morning, Bird should be squarely in the MVP debate this year and that alone could make watching her individual performance exciting on its own - were she to win MVP this year, she'd be the first point guard ever to do so.

Losing a player of Jackson's caliber is definitely bad news. But the Storm's season is far from over.

“Lauren informed me of her decision to have surgery yesterday,” Agler said in the release, “and I offered her our full support. We will miss her a great deal, but I have a lot of confidence in our team and know they will rise to the challenge. Every member of our team now has a greater opportunity to impact our season.”

 

And watching how they respond to this latest instance of adversity could be even more compelling in some ways.

For more on the Storm and the WNBA, visit SB Nation's women's basketball site Swish Appeal.

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Seattle Storm Center Lauren Jackson Out 'Minimum Of Three Weeks'

After suffering an injury against the Tulsa Shock this past week, Seattle Storm center Lauren Jackson will miss a "minimum of three weeks", according to coach Brian Agler in a statement today.

Although it's never good to lose a player of Jackson's stature, she has had a tough start to the 2011 season. Through the Storm's first five games, Jackson has had career-lows of 9.2 points per game, 4.8 rebounds per game, and 30 percent shooting from the field.

None of that is to say that the Storm won't miss her presence - particularly defensively - but the impact of her loss will be considerably less this year than it might have been in past years.

When making cuts in training camp, Agler cited depth on the interior as one of his concerns and now should be the time to test the quality of some of their young depth with increased game action. Both rookie forward Ify Ibekwe and rookie center Krystal Thomas have averaged less than five minutes per game thus far this season, but at least one of them would presumably see more minutes with the Storm needing to fill Jackson's 26 minutes per game.

For more on the Storm and the WNBA, visit SB Nation's women's basketball site Swish Appeal.

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Seattle Storm Center Lauren Jackson To Have MRI On Injured Hip Upon Return To Seattle

Seattle Storm coach Brian Agler said after the team's 82-77 win against the Tulsa Shock tonight that injured center Lauren Jackson will have a MRI on her left hip after suffering an injury that forced her to sit out most of the second quarter and all of the second half.

"We're going to get an MRI as soon as we get back tomorrow, and they told us she wasn't going to come back in," Agler told media after the game, pausing before continuing. "I hate to say anything. I mean they're telling me what it is, what they think it is, but they won't know until they get a picture of it."

Starting the second half without Jackson, the Storm rallied from down six points and played one of the best quarters of their young season to outscore the Tulsa Shock 30-13 and withstood a late run by the Shock to emerge with the win. It's a scenario the team has dealt with before and Agler suggested that it might have even inspired a team that entered this game lacking something after a bad loss to the Los Angeles Sparks.

"There's no question I'm really proud of how we played," Agler said. "When you get a team that's in the duldrums like we were sometimes it takes something drastic to get them out of it. It might be a big play, it might be getting beat badly like we had one time, it may be, unfortunately like this, someone out and they have to sort of circle the wagons and come together."

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Seattle Storm Vs. Tulsa Shock Final Score: Storm Hang On For An 82-77 Win On The Road

The most encouraging thing about the Seattle Storm's 82-77 win tonight is that they showed flashes of the type of chemistry and fluidity that we've become accustomed to from them during the third quarter against the Tulsa Shock.

The Storm used a 30-13 third quarter to erase a six-point halftime deficit and hold on for their first road win of the season, with Lauren Jackson's status still in doubt after suffering a left hip injury in the first half.

While defense helped them grab the momentum in the third quarter, with under a minute left and only up by three with three seconds left on the ball it was Tanisha Wright's aggression on offense that ultimately sealed the game. Wright got the ball on the left wing off of a sideline inbounds pass from Sue Bird and drove hard to the basket with little resistance from the Shock's defense to make a contested layup and put the Storm up by five points.

Sue Bird led the Storm with a game-high 21 points on 8-for-10 shooting as well as a game-high six assists and Swin Cash was a rebound away from a double-double with a game-high nine rebounds and 17 points. Forward Tiffany Jackson led the Shock with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

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Seattle Storm Forward Lauren Jackson Out With A Strained Left Hip

After playing 13 minutes in the first half, Seattle Storm forward Lauren Jackson did not start the second half against the Tulsa Shock and now word out of Tulsa is that the reigning WNBA MVP is out with a strained left hip.

There is no word about when or if she might return at this time tonight or how she sustained the injury.

Jackson has struggled all season and some fans have wondered if it had to do with the Achilles tendon injury she suffered this off-season. Although this is presumably unrelated, it only makes a disappointing start to the season worse.

Perhaps ironically, without Jackson in the lineup the Storm have actually started to find a rhythm on both ends of the floor and quickly erased Tulsa’s lead and got up by six points a few minutes into the half.

Jackson’s injury puts pressure on two people: Le’coe Willingham, who came in to replace her and Sue Bird who is once again forced to carry the team’s scoring burden.

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