INJURY FORCES JACKSON OUT OF JAYCO OPALS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS CAMPAIGN

INJURY FORCES JACKSON OUT OF JAYCO OPALS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS CAMPAIGN

Basketball Australia today confirmed Australian Jayco Opals star Lauren Jackson has been forced to withdraw from the 2014 FIBA World Championships campaign in order to undertake further rehabilitation for her knee injury.

While Jackson’s treatment has progressed well so far, medical advice has indicated her knee is not yet fit for travel to the World Championships and will require a further 8-12 weeks of rehabilitation.

While she is undertaking ongoing rehabilitation for her knee, Jackson has also elected to address a persistent hip problem, undergoing surgery in Melbourne today.

Jackson is expected to make a full recovery, and it is anticipated she will suit up for the University of Canberra Capitals in the Women’s National Basketball League this coming November.

Jayco Opals Head Coach Brendan Joyce said he understood how disappointed Lauren would be to miss the opportunity to play for the national team at this year’s World Championships.

“Lauren has been a cornerstone of the Jayco Opals program for more than 14 years now; she’s always taken great pride in playing for her country and played an immeasurable part in making the Opals a powerhouse on the world stage,” Joyce said.

“I truly feel for her right now, I know what it means to her to represent Australia and I’ve seen how hard she’s worked through training and rehab to get herself fighting fit for these World Championships in Turkey.

“As a team, we’re obviously disappointed not to have her with us for the World Championship campaign, but her health is top priority and we’re all fully supportive of that.”

Joyce said he was confident the Jayco Opals wouldn’t take a backwards step in Jackson’s absence.

“Our goals at the World Championships haven’t changed. We were always hopeful Lauren would be with us in Turkey, but likewise we’ve had to have a contingency plan in the event that she wasn’t,” Joyce said.

“When you look at our last two tours of Japan and Europe, we’ve gone 8-2 against world class opposition – Belarus, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Brazil, Canada – that shows the entire team is stepping up and in particular, our younger players are hitting their stride.

“Lauren can’t be easily replaced and it’s not a matter of one person filling the void – everyone will have to share the load – but we’ve had 15 months of intensive preparation so I feel good about where the team is at.”

Jackson said she was extremely disappointed to not be a part of the Jayco Opals campaign for the upcoming World Championships.

“I've worked so hard on my rehab program and my knee injury has actually progressed well – sadly, just not enough to compete at Worlds. Put simply, we just ran out of time,” Jackson said.

“Further, a problem with my hip has continued to worsen and it's now impacting on my rehab program.

“After scans this week the medical advice was to operate today. I’ll be back with the great, supportive team at the AIS in just 2 weeks and preparing to play for the University of Canberra Capitals in November.

“I can't wait to be finally back on court – I'm actually fit and strong so the hard work will not be lost.”

University of Canberra Capitals Head Coach Carrie Graf said Lauren's health and fitness is a top priority for the team ahead of the WNBL season starting in October.

For all the latest news on the Jayco Opals World Championship campaign be sure to visit the BA website at www.basketball.net.au.

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