Australian Opals coach Brendan Joyce wants to set the record straight on the playing future of Lauren Jackson and is confident the four-time Olympian will be a part of his team's world championship tilt.
Sick of rumours about her fitness, Joyce said Jackson was on a 12-week rehabilitation plan after Australia's most decorated female basketballer underwent minor knee surgery last week.
The 33-year-old has had a terrible run of injuries in the past two years, but made an impressive return for the Opals in last year's Oceania qualifying series against New Zealand to demonstrate her importance to the team.
Joyce said the latest setback occured when Jackson ''felt something click'' in her knee during a shooting drill at training, leading to her going under the knife with respected Melbourne surgeon David Young on May 28.
Jackson has been earmarked to make her return to the court during the Opals' six-game European tour in September ahead of the world titles in Turkey from September 27 to October 5.
"She had a bit of a setback, but the plan is we'll take her to Europe and she'll be playing some minutes with us in the last few games,'' Joyce said. ''We're bringing her rehabilitation along on a really strict plan and we're not taking any risks given her value to the team.
"The positive thing for me is that Lauren will be attending all the camps and we'll be monitoring her rehabilitation.''
The Opals have named a 17-player squad including their European-based stars for a camp at the AIS from July 15-20.
Joyce said it was too early to tell if Jackson would have her minutes on the court reduced at the world championships to manage the injury.
Former Canberra Capitals forward/centre Marianna Tolo and Belinda Snell will have their first involvement with the Opals this year after successful club seasons in Europe.
"The tough part about coaching the Opals is that it's always difficult to have everyone together at the same time, but it's the nature of the girls having to make money,'' Joyce said.
"Erin Phillips is an example. She was able to attend three camps earlier in the year so she's across everything we're doing, but we won't see her again until after the WNBA season finishes.
"The good thing is with the girls playing in Europe, I'll have at least two camps and the tours to get to build our team from a structural point of view and build team chemistry.''
London Olympic Games bronze medallist Rachel Jarry returns from a knee injury.
However, Alice Kunek will miss between three to four months with a shoulder injury, but Joyce has left the door open for her to be involved at the world championships.
Opals squad for training camp at the AIS, June 15-20: Rebecca Allen, Natalie Burton, Elizabeth Cambage, Cayla Francis, Laura Hodges, Natalie Hurst, Rachel Jarry, Tessa Lavey, Tess Madgen, Rachael McCully, Leilani Mitchell, Gabrielle Richards, Jennifer Screen, Belinda Snell, Marianna Tolo, Kelly Wilson, Hanna Zavecz.
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