Lauren Jackson had surgery on Wednesday. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Basketball ACT boss Tony Jackson says he can't allow the Canberra Capitals' deal with Lauren Jackson to be compromised by her hectic schedule after the Opals star was ruled out for the entire WNBL season on Thursday.
The 31-year-old was due to begin a three-season, $1 million deal with the Capitals this season, but will not take the court at all after undergoing surgery for her chronic hamstring injury in Melbourne on Wednesday.
The procedure, overseen by Dr David Young who works with AFL side Western Bulldogs, was a success, with Jackson to rest for three weeks before beginning a light rehabilitation program.
Young and his staff uncovered a handful of underlying issues not detected in previous scans over the past five months.
Jackson endured a massive schedule last year, including a stint with Spanish side Ros Casares, the Olympics and the back end of the WNBA season with Seattle. Despite struggling with the complaint since the Olympic build-up, Seattle allowed Jackson to play through pain in the WNBA play-offs.
Tony Jackson said the Capitals and Basketball Australia would work more closely with Lauren Jackson's management to ensure they received bang for their buck, with the star centre due to play the 2014-15 and 2015-16 WNBL seasons.
''Going forward over the next couple of years, under the terms of the agreement we need to monitor more closely and acquire a forward plan from their management team, which I've already requested,'' he said.
''I can't allow her playing schedule to have a risk of impact as it has done on this season.
''It's not so much putting the foot down, but we have to exercise a few more of the conditions in the agreement in terms of transparency and exposure, and being consulted in regard to her schedule as well.''
The Capitals also plan to work more closely with any overseas teams Jackson opts to sign with to ensure fairer compromises are reached.
''We've all got to share this athlete, and we all need to be conscious for her to fulfil long-term [commitments] we all need to give and take a bit,'' he said.
''At the moment we've given up a lot, and with the assistance of Basketball Australia we'll be going back and saying you guys need to give up a little bit as well.
''It's been well argued and debated that cultures in other leagues around the world is it's win at all costs and forget about player welfare, and someone else picks that up down the track.
''We're all part of this and we all have a piece of Lauren to share, we've all got something to gain but we've all got something to lose if things don't go right. We can't allow that to be us every time.''
Tony Jackson defended the fact the seven-time WNBA All Star had not gone under the knife earlier.
''Surgery was always an option, the [Australian Institute of Sport] doctors did not identify anything under scans previously, their ideology is to allow the body to heal naturally,'' he said.
''Once they realised she wasn't progressing at the pace they would have liked, then they started to explore some other options.''
Fairfax Media has learnt clauses exist in Jackson's deal that dictate she must meet minimum playing requirements for the contract to be paid in full.
However, Tony Jackson confirmed the club was interested in liaising with her management about playing for the Capitals next season, which was not included in the original contract.
''All those things are undecided and are probably up for discussion over the next couple of months,'' he said. ''We certainly will open discussions with her management when the time's right.
''I think the community of Canberra would love to see her next year, but we'll leave that to ongoing discussions with management.''
Lauren Jackson's manager John Elliott dismissed talk his client may suit up for the Capitals in 2013-14 as ''speculation'' at this stage.
''None of that has been considered because Lauren doesn't even know about that, the main thing at the moment was to find out what the issue was, and to get it fixed,'' he said.