SEATTLE - The Seattle Storm announced today that Lauren Jackson will not compete with the team during the 2013 season. Jackson has chosen to remain in Australia to rehabilitate following her recent hamstring surgery. Her contract has been suspended and she is expected to play for the Storm in 2014.
In addition, the Storm announced that center Ann Wauters will not return. She has chosen to spend the summer resting and with her family and does not plan to participate in the WNBA in 2013.
We support Laurens decision to take time off and let her body fully recover, said Storm Head Coach and General Manager Brian Agler. Lauren is the best player in the world at her position so it will be impossible to replace her but we are moving forward. We also truly appreciate the time and effort Ann and her family gave to the Storm in 2012. She is a fantastic person and great player. We wish her the best of luck in the future.
We are focused on free agency and preparing for the 2013 season, Agler continued. Im confident in our coaching staff and our players that we will compete each and every night out. The Western Conference will be as competitive as its ever been and we expect to be right in the thick of things.
While its heartfelt and disappointing for me not to be joining my teammates in Seattle for the coming season, Jackson said, I have to be fair to the club and give them enough time to prepare for my absence this season and make the best decision for all concerned. Although my surgery has been successful and post-operative medical opinion is that I will make a full recovery, clearly I was not going to be fit, ready or confident for the demands of the WNBA season. The Seattle Storm have been so supportive to me over many seasons, its only fair I give them the best possible opportunity and time to prepare for this coming season. My main and only focus at the moment is to get my body right through fitness, strength and skills. After that I will look at my options and an on court plan that best suits me for the future as I want to play on for some time yet.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank everybody for a great experience in Seattle this last summer, Wauters added after sharing her plans. I wish the team and the whole organization the best of luck for the upcoming season.
Storm President & CEO Karen Bryant added, We will miss Lauren a great deal, on and off the court, but we understand her decision and support her prioritizing her health. She is under contract for 2014 and next time we see her in Seattle we want her at full strength ready to help us compete for another championship.
A well, it was great having Ann as part of our organization this past season, Bryant continued. We understand and appreciate her desire to prioritize family this summer and we wish her the best.