The Connecticut Sun announced on Wednesday that star forward Alyssa Thomas has undergone surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon. No official timetable for her return has been set, but given the normal recovery period of 9-12 months, it's all but certain she will miss the entire 2021 WNBA season.
Earlier this month, Thomas returned to the United States after reportedly suffering a serious injury while playing for ZVVZ USK Praha in the Czech Republic. Initial details were scarce due to limited media coverage overseas, but tests Stateside ultimately revealed the news no one wanted to hear.
A two-time All-Star and three-time All-Defense performer, Thomas has become one of the best frontcourt players in the league, and has done so with a totally unique style. Defensively she's up for any challenge, and when she isn't battling in the post or chasing a ball-handler around, she's flying into passing lanes looking to create havoc.
She loves to get out into the open court, and is always pushing the pace, thanks to her seemingly indefatigable spirit -- her teammates don't call her "The Engine" for nothing. Though able to operate as a point forward, she can score, too, and does so almost exclusively in the paint with an array of flip and push shots she's developed by playing through torn labrums in both shoulders.
It goes without saying this is a huge blow for the Sun. Prior to last season, they made some major changes that included bringing in DeWanna Bonner to form a big three alongside Thomas and Jonquel Jones. Then the coronavirus pandemic happened, and Jones sat out the 2020 season inside the bubble. Now, Thomas will be out for 2021, which means two straight seasons without that trio playing together.
If there's any silver lining for the Sun, it's that the injury happened prior to free agency, which means they have a chance to pivot and reshape their roster around a Bonner-Jones frontcourt. However, there's simply no replacing what Thomas does on both ends of the floor, and though they'll still be a good team, their title chances have taken a major hit.