The Connecticut Sun have suffered a major blow, and it’s sure to have a lasting impact on their 2021 campaign.
Star forward Alyssa Thomas on Tuesday underwent successful surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon. No timeline is set for her return.
Thomas has been a cornerstone of the Sun’s offense the last few seasons and played a prominent role in Connecticut’s postseason success in 2019 and 2020. Last season, she was second on the team in points per game (15.5) and first in both rebounds (nine) and assists (4.8) per game. Not to mention, was named to the WNBA’s All-Defensive First Team for the first time.
WNBA players usually take around nine months to return to action after having an Achilles injury surgically repaired. Take Breanna Stewart, for example. The Seattle Storm star missed the entire 2019 season with her injury after undergoing surgery that April.
Of course, Thomas has three months on Stewart. But the 2021 season likely will be over long before she’d heal under Stewart’s timeframe.
So here’s the question: Where do they go from here?
Connecticut has some options, but naturally, they each come with some caveats. In the end, there will be no perfect solution. But the team cannot ignore her absence, either.
One option simply would be to pay Thomas for the entire season. Do that, however, and Connecticut will not be able to replace her while she’s out. This would put the team at a significant disadvantage heading into what’s sure to be another competitive season, too.
Another option would be to sign and suspend Thomas. At this point, though, there’s no telling if that’d be something she’d support.
The Sun are in an incredibly difficult position. The last thing they want to do is see Thomas leave. She’s been a key part of the team’s ongoing success, but keeping her would come at some sort of price.
Ultimately, Connecticut has a difficult decision to make.