An absolutely awful Seattle offseason just got worse
The news, already grim for the Seattle Storm, darkened considerably on Tuesday. High Post Hoops has learned from two league sources that Sue Bird will miss much of the 2019 season, if not the entire season, with a knee injury.
The surgery’s estimated recovery is 8-10 weeks, and dependent on rehabilitation, the super-vet and WNBA legend may or may not return.
UPDATE [1:08 PM EST] The Storm, in a press release, said that Bird will undergo surgery to remove a loose body in her left knee, and will be out indefinitely.
“The most important thing to us is that Sue is healthy and strong,” Storm CEO and GM Alisha Valvanis said in the release. “Based on her feedback and evaluation from her longtime surgeon and our medical team, it was determined the best course of action was a scope. We have confidence this will support Sue’s full recovery and we look forward to her return to the court.”
The team also announced that Bird will do her rehabbing in Seattle.
““I’m super disappointed to have to miss time with the team this season,” Bird said in the release. “There’s nothing I want more than to be on court with my teammates defending our title. I’ve been down this road before, so now I just have to focus on getting better so I can continue to represent the Storm, the city of Seattle and the ‘Storm Crazies’ in the future.”
Knee maladies are nothing new for Bird, who missed the 2013 season after having a cyst removed from her left knee in March of that year. Knee problems also cost Bird time during the 2016 Olympics and WNBA regular season time in 2017.
The devastating blow comes in the same recent span as the Storm lost Breanna Stewart for the 2019 season with an achilles injury. Dan Hughes, the team’s head coach, is also fighting cancer and missed the preseason games already.
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After a massively successful 2018 season, capped by a championship for Seattle — the first for Stewart, the third for Bird — this is probably the last thing Seattle wanted to hear, especially with a growingly competitive league that tips off this Friday.
The most veteran WNBA active player, Bird, was a critical part of the 2019 championship run, shooting 44.8 percent from three, posting an assist percentage of 40.7, good for third-best in the WNBA, and posting her best overall season in years just before turning 38.
Without Bird, the Storm will need to lean even more heavily on second-year point guard Jordin Canada, who showed signs of being able to take the reigns in the latter part of 2018. Sami Whitcomb, a combo guard with point guard skills, should also have a larger role.
Though there is no replacement for THE Sue Bird, guard play is not lacking on the roster, though, where fellow previous all-stars Jewell Loyd and Alysha Clark thrive and have served as large pieces to Seattle’s puzzle. And, during the off-season, Seattle acquired Shavonte Zellous who will enter her tenth year.
The Storm open the season on May 25 at 3:30 PM EST against the Phoenix Mercury. At the time it was scheduled, the WNBA undoubtedly thought it would be both a rematch of last season’s epic five-game WNBA conference final matchup, and a chance to watch Diana Taurasi battle Sue Bird, the two longtime friends and rivals squaring off once more.
Instead, Taurasi is out for the next few weeks with a back injury, and Bird will miss the game as well.
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