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The Seattle Storm have been holding out hope for months that their leader would make a return to the court at some point this season.
Sue Bird, though, simply isn’t ready yet.
Bird, who underwent knee surgery in May, will now officially miss the entire season, the Storm announced on Tuesday.
“While it has been difficult not to be on the court with my teammates, I am very proud of what they have accomplished this season,” Bird said in a statement. “I look forward to suiting up for the Storm in 2020.”
The 38-year-old underwent arthroscopic surgery on her left knee on May 30, and has been rehabbing with the team in Seattle ever since. The Storm hoped that the 16-year WNBA veteran would be healthy enough to make a return at some point this season, however that now won’t be the case.
The Storm have been without star Breanna Stewart this year, too. Stewart — who was named the league MVP last season — suffered an Achilles injury while playing with Russian club Dynamo Kursk in the EuroLeague championship game in April.
Despite missing their two best players, however, Seattle has already clinched a playoff spot this season.
Bird averaged 10.1 points and 7.1 assists last season while leading Seattle to its third WNBA championship. She is still planning to train with the U.S. national team this winter in preparation for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo next summer, which would be her fifth Olympics appearance, according to ESPN.
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