Chicago Sky forward Jantel Lavender to undergo foot surgery, expected to miss rest of season
Lavender's injury is expected to keep her out 8-9 weeks, and the playoffs begin in less than a month
After two down seasons, the Chicago Sky have turned things around this campaign, but now they'll have to deal with their first bit of real adversity. Late on Tuesday night, the team announced that veteran forward Jantel Lavender will be sidelined for eight to nine weeks after doctors determined she needs surgery on her left foot.
The Chicago Sky announced today that center Jantel Lavender will undergo surgery to repair a fracture in her left foot, an injury suffered in the third quarter of Chicago's game at Las Vegas on Aug. 9.
The procedure will be performed by Dr. Kelly Hynes at the University of Chicago Medicine in Chicago on Wednesday, Aug. 14. Expected recovery time is eight to nine weeks.
With the playoffs set to begin in less than a month, and the last possible Finals date in just under eight weeks, we have in all likelihood seen the last of Lavender this season. That's a big blow for this young Sky team.
Acquired in an offseason trade with the Los Angeles Sparks, Lavender has started 22 out of 23 games and is averaging 10 points and 6.9 rebounds on 49 percent shooting from the field. After getting pushed into a lesser role with the Sparks, this was a nice bounce-back season for Lavender, and she's been a key figure in the Sky's turnaround.
Her scoring shouldn't be too difficult to replace on a team with all sorts of offensive options, but the Sky are going to miss her rebounding and inside presence. They're already eighth in the league in rebounding rate, and Lavender was their best rebounder. They'll need not only their other bigs, but their wings and guard to step up and help crash the glass. Astou Ndour stepped into the starting lineup over the weekend in the first game that Lavender missed and she figures to maintain that spot so that Cheyenne Parker can continue coming off the bench.
And though she'll still be on the bench and in the locker room, Lavender's presence on the court will also be missed. She has plenty of championship experience after going to back-to-back Finals with the Sparks, and that was important for a team looking to get to the playoffs for the first time since 2016. The Sky are in good shape; heading into Wednesday's action they're in fifth place at 14-10 and will make the playoffs. But when they get there is when they may miss Lavender the most.
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