Storm’s Sue Bird to miss rest of season

Sue Bird’s May knee surgery will keep her out for the entire season.

With three games left on the Seattle Storm’s regular season schedule, the team announced that future Hall of Fame point guard Sue Bird will miss the rest of the season. Bird had undergone surgery on her knee in left May, and has been present at the team’s practices and games throughout the season.

The surgery was on Bird’s left knee — the same knee that had also kept her out of the entire 2013 season. Bird returned in the 2014 season to be named a WNBA All-Star, and then played for the United States national team as they secured a gold medal on an undefeated run through the FIBA World Cup. Bird anticipates returning for the Storm in 2020.

Our Ari Chambers reported that Bird missing the entire season was a possibility when she broke the news of Bird’s injury. But the Storm’s plan allowed for an early return. If a player is known ahead of time to miss the entire season, league rules allow the team to suspend that player — maintaining them under contract while freeing up one of the 12 vital roster spots. For instance, when Maya Moore announced this winter that she would miss the entire 2019 season, she in fact also signed a contract extension for 2020 with the Lynx, while Minnesota was allowed to free up Moore’s roster spot for this season. The Storm were forced to make a similar move this spring following Breanna Stewart’s season-ending Achilles injury, suspending Stewart, and thus creating an open roster spot. This same sequence did not happen with Bird: while she was eligible to return at any time, the Storm have played with only 11 healthy players the entire season.

The next decision regarding Bird’s health will come up quickly: she has been a driving force behind the year-long exhibition tour that the United States National Team will play in preparation for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The American team begins group play in the FIBA AmeriCup, hosted in Puerto Rico, on September 22 against Paraguay.

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