Lauren Jackson's injury layoff has been long and frustrating for the Capitals. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
CANBERRA CAPITALS skipper Jess Bibby says her misfiring team is resigned to playing without Lauren Jackson for the rest of the season, and it is up to the present group to dig itself out of its mire.
While the players have not been told officially, the superstar Opals centre is almost certain to miss the campaign as she continues to struggle with a chronic hamstring injury.
Canberra (5-11) plunged to an eighth straight defeat on Friday night after a rampant Dandenong ran roughshod 101-62 at AIS Arena.
Capitals v Rangers
Canberra Capitals v Dandenong Rangers at the AIS Arena, January 4. Photo: Graham Tidy
The seven-time WNBL champions are in danger of eclipsing their longest losing streak of 10, set in 1996 and 1997.
Jackson was due to begin a three-year deal worth around $1 million this season, which also includes the 2014-15 and 2015-16 campaigns.
''We can't expect Loz back any time soon and the club's probably stupid to try and get her back, even if she was [fit] in the next few weeks,'' Bibby said on Saturday.
''It's all about longevity and trying to have her here for the long term. We're all there to support Loz, but we're not expecting her back.''
Bibby said the squad had no ill-feeling towards Jackson's WNBA club, Seattle, for playing her under duress during a play-off campaign on the eve of the WNBL season.
Jackson first suffered her injury during the Opals' Olympic build-up before returning to the Storm.
''There's certainly no animosity from us whatsoever,'' Bibby said.
''We all knew after the Olympics Loz had commitments to play for Seattle and then for us.
''If she, or anybody else, had known how serious her injury was, I don't think anybody would have let her play for Seattle.
''That shows the competitive nature of the woman, she makes commitments and wants to uphold them, which is a great quality to have.''
The Capitals' plight worsened when bench player Mikaela Dombkins was a late withdrawal from the Rangers game with injury, while centre Brigitte Ardossi limped off with a leg complaint.
Bibby revealed Canberra Raiders coach David Furner addressed her team on Friday morning.
After being thrashed at home 40-0 by Wests Tigers last season, the Raiders embarked on a soul-searching camp on the Central Coast that helped spark a stirring run to the finals.
''I thought that was a great thing to do, obviously the Raiders were in a similar situation that we are,'' Bibby said.
''He spoke about we haven't lost the ability to play, perhaps our mindset is just a little different to what it should be.
''It starts with relaxing a little bit and not getting caught up in the losing streak, and the pressure that continues to mount with that.''
Bibby said next week's road trip to Adelaide and West Coast could be the perfect tonic for the team to galvanise itself as a unit.
''After their 40-0 loss the next week they [the Raiders] went away, and maybe this is our chance to be away from everything and try and regroup,'' she said.
''The night before our upset win at [competition leader] Bendigo [in round six] we had the team dinner the night before and just being around each other galvanised the group.''
CAPITALS' WORST LOSING STREAKS
■ 10 - Aug 9, 1996-May 4, 1997
■ 9 - May 19, 1990-Jun 24, 1990
■ 8 - Feb 14, 1998-Mar 14, 1998
■ 8* - Nov 18, 2012-Jan 4, 2013
*Current losing streak