The Storm announced Wednesday that star center Lauren Jackson will sit out the 2013 WNBA season. Jackson has chosen to remain in her native Australia to rehabilitate a recent hamstring surgery. Her contract has been suspended and she is expected to return to the Storm in 2014, the team said.
"We support Lauren's decision to take time off and let her body fully recover," Storm coach and general manager Brian Agler said. "Lauren is the best player in the world at her position so it will be impossible to replace her, but we are moving forward."
The 31-year-old Jackson is a three-time WNBA Most Valuable Player (2003, 2007, 2010). She helped the Storm win league titles in 2004 and 2010. In 12 WNBA seasons, all with Seattle, Jackson has averaged 18.9 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.
Jackson underwent surgery last month in Melbourne, Australia, to repair her injured hamstring.
"While it's heartfelt and disappointing for me not to be joining my teammates in Seattle for the coming season, I have to be fair to the club and give them enough time to prepare for my absence this season and make the best decision for all concerned," Jackson said in the press release. "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."
The Storm also announced that veteran center Ann Wauters will not return for the 2013 season. Wauters, 32, has chosen to spend the summer with her family. Wauters appeared in 25 games last year, her only season in Seattle. She averaged 9.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.
"(We) truly appreciate the time and effort Ann and her family gave to the Storm in 2012," Agler said. "She is a fantastic person and great player. We wish her the best of luck in the future."
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