An injured Lauren Jackson signs autographs on Friday night. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
THREE-TIME Olympian Suzy Batkovic has urged the Canberra Capitals to be patient with Lauren Jackson and ease the star back on to the court to ensure she ''returns better than ever''.
And while Jackson is out of action indefinitely, Batkovic declared Canberra the best place in the world to recover.
Jackson will be missing as the Capitals take on the Bendigo Spirit on the road today and there's no set time frame for the 31-year-old to make a WNBL comeback.
Jackson is one of the world's best players, but she is still battling the back and hamstring problems that have plagued her for a year.
She played through pain in her WNBA campaign with the Seattle Storm after the Olympics and hasn't been able to recover.
Instead of making her play with an injury, the Capitals have opted to take a cautious approach.
It's one rarely taken by overseas teams, as winning takes priority, regardless of fitness.
Batkovic played in Seattle with Jackson and was a star in Europe.
''In Australia, you always get looked after better than anywhere else,'' said Batkovic, one of Jackson's closest friends. ''Some people are lucky and go to European teams that push you but understand you have to slow it down.
''Canberra has the best rehab facilities and knowing Loz, she will back stronger than before … you have to look at the wellbeing of the athlete first.''
Batkovic was the Capitals' marquee recruit for the 2010-11 season. But she suffered a setback after a major knee injury and missed most of the season.
''I know Loz and she will hate sitting there and watching, she wants to play but you have to make sure she's fit,'' Batkovic said.
''She's a tough cookie … she can go to [the Olympics in 2016] if her body holds up. It will all be positive once she gets through this.''
The Capitals lost their first home game of the season to Batkovic's Adelaide Lightning on Friday.
But they get a chance to make up for the defeat when they take on the ladder-leading Spirit in Bendigo.
Jackson and coach Carrie Graf - who has led the Capitals to six championships - will be absent.
Regular starter Carly Wilson played just 12 minutes against Adelaide, but hoped for more game time against Bendigo.
''There's nothing wrong with me, I was a bit shocked [with the low minutes],'' Wilson said.
''We came into this weekend confident and thinking we could win both games.
''But we've got to put Adelaide behind us now, move on and focus on making sure we get this game.''
WNBL round six: Canberra Capitals v Bendigo Spirit, at Bendigo Basketball Stadium, 12.30pm.