Alyssa Thomas is staring at a full season in front of her, something the Connecticut Sun star forward wasn’t afforded last year.
Thomas tore her Achilles tendon in January 2021 playing overseas for ZVVZ USK Praha in the Czech Republic, which caused Thomas to miss the first 30 games of last season. Thomas did find her way onto the court very late into the season for the Sun, appearing in the final six games of the campaign, which included the playoffs.
Now well over a year removed from the devastating injury, the 30-year-old Thomas feels healthy at the outset of her ninth season with the Sun and should be a key figure in the starting lineup for Connecticut’s season opener on Saturday against the New York Liberty.
“I’m feeling good,” Thomas said at the team’s media day on Wednesday. “I played the whole season overseas, so definitely ready for this season and I can’t wait to see what else.”
Thomas’s return, and playing at close to full strength as possible, will certainly provide the Sun with a major boost. The two-time All-Star has started in 194 regular season games in her career and in 2020, she nearly averaged a double-double with 15.5 points and nine rebounds.
Thomas’s presence on the floor and terrific defensive ability will make the league’s top defense from a year ago — the Sun allowed an incredible 69.9 points per game — that much stronger as well. Thomas has been named to the WNBA All-Defensive Team three times in her career, including earning First Team honors in 2020.
It doesn’t seem like Thomas will face many restrictions in her first full season back from injury. Sun coach and general manger Curt Miller sees Thomas taking on a heavy workload and forming a three-headed monster in the front court with reigning MVP Jonquel Jones and last year’s Most Improved Player Brionna Jones.
“I think you look at it and we’re fortunate to have three perennial all-stars in the post: Alyssa Thomas, Jonquel Jones and and Brionna Jones,” Miller said. “With those three in a perfect world, in a healthy season, even our compacted footprint season, those three are going to take up a ton of minutes, if healthy.”
The Sun will kick off its season Saturday against the New York Liberty. Connecticut then will return to action May 14 against the Los Angeles Sparks, a game you can watch on NESN+ starting at 7 p.m. ET.