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Jackson says surgery saved her basketball career

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - Seattle Storm forward Lauren Jackson was told her basketball career could have ended if she had not undergone surgery this week on her knee and Achilles tendon.

The three-time WNBA Most Valuable Player had surgery Monday night to repair a torn meniscus in her right knee and an ongoing problem in her left Achilles tendon.

Jackson, 32, faces a four-month recovery program and will almost certainly miss the start of the WNBA season.

"I was told last night this knee injury would have been career ending if I had of left it, so I am just lucky that I had the right people and the right advice around me to come home and get it fixed," the Australian said on her Twitter page Wednesday.

"So thank you again for your kind words. It's a tough time."

Jackson missed the entire 2013 WNBA season after undergoing surgery on her right hamstring in January 2013 for a chronic injury.

Basketball Australia said in a statement Tuesday that orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Young believes the surgery successfully resolved both her Achilles and knee problems.

Jackson's manager, John Elliot, told the Australian Associated Press she will be unavailable for the start of the WNBA season and unlikely to train on court with the Storm until early June, or play until July.

"Seattle will have to make that decision, but I can't see her getting back to Seattle in the short term," he said. "If they've got to replace her because she can't make May 16, they might go out and buy another person to replace her."

Elliot acknowledged the Storm would have to consider their options

"We'll just have to see how they want to play it and all that, but she's totally committed to the Opals program," he said, referring to Australia's national team.

While Jackson's immediate WNBA future is in doubt, Basketball Australia expects the forward to be available to join the national team by July for its preparations ahead of the world championship in Turkey starting Sept. 27.

"Lauren has committed to the Opals preparation for this year's World Championships," Australia coach Brendan Joyce said in the BA statement. "She'll have some time to prepare in some games in July on a tour of Japan and then again in August."

Jackson played for Heilongjiang in the Women's Chinese Basketball Association earlier this year where she averaged 22 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. She is also contracted to Australian team the Canberra Capitals for the next two WNBL seasons.


(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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