As if the Minnesota Lynx weren’t already without a handful of key players from a season ago, you can add another name to the list of players they will be without for the immediate future.
After reports broke following Wednesday night’s 72-61 win over the Seattle Storm at Target Center, the Lynx officially announced Thursday morning that veteran guard Seimone Augustus will be sidelined indefinitely after undergoing knee surgery.
Augustus, who is entering her 14th season in the WNBA — all of which have been in Minnesota — has yet to appear in any games this year for the Lynx while trying to overcome a knee injury that she started dealing with during training camp.
In the official statement released by the organization on Thursday, Minnesota announced Augustus underwent arthroscopic surgery to address the significant symptoms of her injury, adding that she will be “sidelined indefinitely and a further update will be provided when appropriate.”
Augustus now joins Maya Moore (taking the 2019 year off), Lindsay Whalen (retired) and Rebekkah Brunson (recovering from concussion symptoms) on the list of players that have played a large role in Minnesota’s success over the last handful of years that are now absent at the beginning of the 2019 season.
Yet another example and realization that we have entered a new era of Lynx basketball this summer.
Before Wednesday’s game against the Storm, Minnesota head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve said that Augustus hasn’t been able to practice with the team while trying to recover from the injury without having to face the option of surgery.
This week, Augustus and the Lynx came to the conclusion that surgery was indeed needed, resulting in the veteran guard having the procedure done by head orthopedic surgeon Dr. Nancy Cummings at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
“Seimone has not practiced, she did some shooting (on Wednesday),” Reeve said during her pre-game availability Wednesday. “We have to maybe get through some short-term absence to be able to have her out there and be better when she is out there.”
Augustus and Karima Christmas-Kelly have both been sidelined to start the season for Minnesota, both dealing with knee injuries. Christmas-Kelly, who was able to practice with the team on Tuesday, is still battling back from microfracture surgery but Reeve said “the reaction to (her knee) wasn’t what we wanted” heading into Wednesday’s game.
With Augustus added to the list of players absent in Minnesota in 2019, and with her likely out for an extended period of time this season, that will allow some of the new faces a chance to prove themselves in the starting lineup for the Lynx as the year continues to roll along.
In the first two games, that has resulted in newcomer Odyssey Sims being inserted into the starting lineup for Minnesota. Sims has gotten off to a nice start and has already proven to be a nice addition to the Lynx this offseason.
In the two regular-season wins, Sims has averaged 13 points, five assists, 3.5 rebounds and 0.5 steals in 29.5 minutes per game. She is shooting 41.7 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from three and 80 percent from the free throw line.
Entering Saturday’s game against the Dallas Wings, Sims ranks second on the team behind rookie wing Napheesa Collier in scoring, first in assists and fifth in rebounding.
A few other notable players that will be required to step up outside of Sims while Augustus is away will be Collier and guard Lexie Brown.
Collier has gotten off to a nice start to the year, averaging a team-high 18 points, five rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 30 minutes per game. Brown, who has provided Minnesota with a spark off the bench through two games, is averaging 10 points, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals and one rebound in 21.5 minutes per game.
Whenever Christmas-Kelly returns to the rotation for the Lynx, that will also obviously help and will provide Minnesota with some much-needed depth within the starting lineup and the second unit groups. Collier or Sims would likely move to the second unit whenever Christmas-Kelly is able to return.
The overwhelming storyline thus far for Minnesota in the 2019 campaign has been the flood of new faces to the team and which players will be able to fill some key holes for the Lynx throughout the summer.
Now with Augustus added to that list of names of players who will be absent for at least the immediate future, we are about to find out early on who is going to step up for the Lynx this season.