Jackson forfeits US season in quest for recovery
An injured Lauren Jackson and Mikaela Dombkins sit on the sidelines, as the Canberra Capitals take on Dandenong Rangers at the AIS Arena. Photo: Colleen Petch
Canberra superstar Lauren Jackson will sacrifice a season in the world’s best basketball competition to ensure she returns to the court fit and capable of recapturing the best form of her career.
But Jackson is yet to announce whether she will suit up for the Canberra Capitals in the 2013-14 season after being forced to miss this year’s campaign because of injury.
Jackson has decided not to play in the 2013 WNBA season for the Seattle Storm in the United States as she continues her recovery from hamstring surgery.
The veteran has been plagued by constant pain since early last year.
However, she played through pain to first help the Australian Opals to a bronze medal at the London Olympics and then suited up for the Storm.
Jackson was then supposed to start the first season of her record deal with the Canberra Capitals, but injury ruled her out for the season.
Jackson has signed a third-party deal worth almost $1 million to play three seasons in Canberra between the 2011-12 and 2015-16 campaigns.
She didn’t play in 2011-12 or the 2012-13 seasons.
But she is yet to decide whether she will be back in the capital to play the 2013-14 season with Canberra to make up for missing this year.
Jackson is expected to return to the WNBA in 2014.
‘‘I’m so pleased with the medical view that I will make a full recovery, but I know I have to be patient and not rush the process,’’ Jackson said.
‘‘My main and only focus at the moment is to get back to my physical best through fitness, strength and skills.
‘‘After that, I’ll look at my options and an on court plan that best suits me for the future as I want to play on for some time yet.’’
Jackson told The Canberra Times last month she didn’t want to ‘‘let anyone down’’ in her comeback.
Despite being frustrated by injuries throughout her decorated career - especially the past 12 months - her break from basketball could help her extend her playing days to the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
The 31-year-old is already a four-time Olympian.
"I don't want to let anyone down again, I hate it and it's a horrible feeling - I want to be there with my teammates," she said.
"I don't think I've played good basketball for a long time now and, because of the injury and the pain, I think my confidence was shot.
"I needed to get it fixed or I would never be myself again. Now that I've got it fixed, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and, for me, I feel a lot of relief. I do feel like I can get back to what I consider as myself."