Lauren Jackson at centre of 'horrible' scenes in tribute game in WNBL
The Aussie basketball legend suffered a devastating injury just 60 seconds into what could be her final game.
What was supposed to be a wonderful night to honour the career of Aussie basketball legend Lauren Jackson turned into disaster after she hobbled off the court with injury after just 60 seconds. Playing in front of a record crowd at John Cain Arena in Melbourne on Saturday night, Jackson picked up what appeared to be an Achilles injury just over one minute into her tribute game.
Jackson is set to undergo scans to determine the full extent of the injury, but it looks as though the 41-year-old's career has come to end in brutal fashion. Jackson was in tears as she left the court, before returning to the bench with the help of crutches.
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Speaking after the game, the Opals legend said the injury wasn't related to the broken foot she suffered in December. Jackson was moved by the incredible scenes as 7681 fans packed into John Cain Arena - the largest crowd for a WNBL game ever.
The record crowd beat the 7500 who attended the 1995 grand final between the Adelaide Lightning and Melbourne Tigers. "This was absolutely incredible. To be a part of it was just magic, but it was a shame I couldn't play more than 10 seconds," Jackson said on court after the match.
"I'll see what I've done...but the good news is that it's not my broken foot, it's the other (leg). I think it's my Achilles."
The former WNBA star said she felt something 'pop' in her leg. "I said to the referee, 'I don't think I can walk'," she said.
"I don't know whatever it is. I will go get scans and hopefully, this is just a stinger or something but I don't know. I think we have the best team in the league, there's no doubt about it, and I've just got to regroup and get back out there."
Basketball world left gutted for Lauren Jackson
Jackson made a sensational return from an injury-forced retirement last year to help the Opals win bronze at the FIBA Women's World Cup in Sydney. She was since helped the Southside Flyers reach third on the WNBL ladder with four games remaining, despite their one-point loss to the Sydney Flames on Saturday night.
“I don’t feel great, but it is what it is,” Jackson said later on Saturday. “I was on borrowed time anyway. It’s a bit ironic, isn’t it? Anyway.”
Jackson broke her foot in December but played through the pain thinking it was just arthritis. “It‘s one of those things where I’m just going to see the season out, do what I can and then I’ll deal with it after,” she said at the time.
“At least knowing that it is broken now, I know that it will heal eventually. If I had’ve found out it was broken straight away I might not have played on it. At least I know I can play on it now, and I’m getting all the support I can get.”
Basketball fans and commentators were left shattered for Jackson on Saturday night after the injury.
Damn. That’s horrible news
— Ben (@orca_chaser) February 4, 2023
Ouch! Not good at all
— Tania 😷🇦🇺 (@tdeb007) February 4, 2023
Lauren Jackson’s hobbled down the race inside the first two minutes of the historic JCA clash. Whole place holding its breath.
— Michael Randall (@MickRandallHS) February 4, 2023
LJ is a national treasure
Gonna be a sad day when she announces her retirement from the sport all together
— Trysty (@trysty13) February 4, 2023
Get well soon @laurenej15
— Hmmmm……. (@GoodPoint2022) February 4, 2023
It will be very sad if this is the last we see of LJ.
— Jimmy (@LoSiento76) February 4, 2023
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