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Jackson to miss Flames clash

It was billed as her triumphant homecoming, but Canberra Capitals star Lauren Jackson will be limited to bench duty for another week after being ruled out of Friday's clash with Sydney.

The Capitals had hoped Jackson would overcome a right hamstring injury she's battled since the Olympics in time for the Flames clash.

However, having pulled up sore yesterday after a light training session on Monday, medical staff have advised her to err on the side of caution.

Jackson, who begins a three-year, $1 million third party deal with the Capitals this season, has been working feverishly at the AIS to overcome the injury.

Scans have confirmed there is no structural damage, but she will undergo an injection to relieve nerve pain, and the club is confident she will be available for next Friday's home clash with Adelaide.

''I'm almost ready to go, but unfortunately it's not going to be this week,'' a frustrated Jackson said yesterday.


''This is a chronic injury which I've had since June, basically. I got it with the national team and I just had to play through it at the Olympics.

''In the WNBA [after the Olympics], it was very bad, the last few games I couldn't walk on it.

''I did 25 minutes on court [on Monday] which was pretty light, and I pulled up not great.

''I'm doing everything I can at the moment to get it right, it's just taking its time.''

The 31-year-old is adopting a ''short-term pain for long-term gain'' approach, determined not to return too early and jeopardise her fitness for the rest of the season.

''They don't want me to go backwards. For me to be able to stay and play through the season, I have to keep forging forwards,'' she said.

''At this point, it's at a stage where I have to make sure I can play, but not have to sit out three or four days afterward rehabbing it again.

''To be honest, that's probably what would have happened and nothing apart from getting back here and having a rest has actually helped it.''

The Capitals had banked on a bumper crowd at AIS Arena on Friday to watch Jackson's return to the WNBL.

While it's a setback, Capitals coach Carrie Graf has been buoyed by the side's ability to grind out wins without the star centre.

Canberra is in fourth spot with a 3-2 record, and well placed to launch a finals charge when Jackson is injected in the line-up.

''We've had different players step up, we need to work toward the whole group playing well and getting three or four players in double figures, that's coming for us,'' Graf said.

''It's frustrating for her, but that's elite sport and injuries and player management.

''If it means we've got her for the rest of the season when she's in, it's the right thing to do I think.''

Jackson is hell-bent on proving her fitness for next week, with Canberra to play Bendigo in her home town of Albury next Sunday.

It would be her first match at the newly christened Lauren Jackson Sports Centre, and playing there would be one of the more memorable moments of her career.

''Going back there, I think there will be a bit of nostalgia and maybe a few tears,'' she said.

''Being able to play at home is going to be amazing, but then again, being able to play at all is going to be amazing.''

Sydney has been boosted by the acquisition of former Opals forward Rohanee Cox, who played her first match for the Flames last week after coming out of retirement.


WNBL Round five:

Canberra Capitals v Sydney Flames at AIS Arena, 7pm.

Tickets available from Ticketek.


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