Silver Stars guard Becky Hammon suffers torn ACL, surgery scheduled for this week


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In a season rife with injuries to veterans who play basketball year-round, San Antonio Silver Stars guard Beck Hammon is the latest casualty. The seven-time All-Star was already sidelined 10 games with a broken middle finger on her right hand suffered in training camp. In her first game back at Los Angeles Saturday night, she went down with a left knee injury in the second quarter and had to be carried off the court. She did not return to the game. The Silver Stars lost 93-66.

When Hammon returned to San Antonio for tests, MRI results revealed a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). She will undergo surgery in San Antonio to repair the tear this week. A timetable for her return will be established once she begins her rehabilitation process. Hammon played 12 minutes prior to the injury recording two points, a rebound and an assist.

The 36 year-old WNBA great blew her right ACL in 2003. While there are rumblings that Hammon should retire, sources says she is adamant about rehabbing and coming back to competition. She ranked second in the league with 5.3 assists per game last season and was her team’s second-leading scorer with 14.7 points per contest.

This is the second ACL blow to the team this season as standout Sophia Young sustained an ACL in her right knee during a game in China this past January. Young led the team in scoring, rebounding and steals per game last season.

Overall, the league is struggling with the issue of banged up and fatigued players who head overseas to earn bigger bucks during the offseason, playing with foreign squads. Since teams are limited to 11 players, the injury toll can severely affect a franchise’s ability to field enough active players to stay competitive. In San Antonio’s previous game at Atlanta, they only had eight players dressed for play. They lost 93-67 to the Dream.

Other teams hit hard by injuries include the defending champion Indiana Fever. With as many as six players injured at one point, the Fever also entered games with only eight active players. They augmented the roster with replacement players signed to temporary contracts.

“The only option is to continue adding people to the roster,” said Fever president and general manager Kelly Krauskopf last month on, “but at that point you lose any continuity and you lose a lot of what you have worked so hard to do, which is to get your core group playing together.”

As with other teams, the continual influx of replacement players and rampant injuries affects team chemistry.

“As we saw last season, it takes chemistry to really have a successful team,” continued Krauskopf. “The on-court chemistry so far isn’t the same, and it can’t be with so many new players – particularly when the new players have not been part of our system.”

The league’s collective bargaining agreement expires September 30, 2013 and the current roster size limitation is expected to be at the top of the agenda.

“That’s the first thing that has to be changed,” said Hammon to the Associated Press last week. “Twelve-year old AAU teams have more players than we do. It’s absolutely ridiculous and they have to do something to fix it.”

Players agreed to the roster limitation during negotiations in 2007-2008 in order to help the league cut costs.

The Silver Stars are still on the road and face Phoenix on Wednesday. They return home to host Washington on Friday.

WNBA-WNBPA Collective Bargaining Agreement (PDF document)

Other veterans out for the season due to injury:

  • Jessica Davenport (Indiana Fever)
  • Jeanette Pohlen (Indiana Fever)
  • Danielle McCray (Connecticut Sun)
  • Asjha Jones  (Connecticut Sun)
  • Essence Carson (New York Liberty)
  • Sophia Young (San Antonio Silver Stars)
  • Sue Bird (Seattle Storm)
  • Lauren Jackson (Seattle Storm)
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