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Sun’s Jones is out for the season with Achilles tendon injury

Brionna Jones (42) drives to the basket in the 2021 WNBA semifinals against Chicago.

This isn’t new for the Connecticut Sun. But it doesn’t make it any easier.

Sun center Brionna Jones is out for the season, the team announced on Saturday morning. She suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in the final minute of Tuesday’s win over Seattle.

Jones underwent successful reparative surgery on Friday. The surgery was performed by Dr. Nicholas Seibert of the Swedish Orthopedic Institute-Seattle, the team said in a news release.

For the fourth consecutive season, the Sun (11-3) have lost a key player in their drive for the franchise’s first championship. Alyssa Thomas missed nearly the entire 2021 season after rupturing her Achilles tendon playing overseas during the offseason. Guard Jasmine Thomas missed most of the 2022 campaign after tearing her ACL.

In 2020, Jonquel Jones passed on the WNBA season played in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Still, the Sun advanced to the WNBA finals in 2022 before falling to the Las Vegas Aces and advanced to the WNBA semifinals in 2021 and 2020.

With the trade of Jonquel Jones to New York in the offseason, Brionna Jones moved into the starting lineup and was having an exceptional season for Connecticut.

Brionna Jones, a 6-foot-3 center from Maryland, was first in the league in offensive rebounds (3.2 per game) and fifth in steals (1.8 per game). She was averaging a career-high in points (15.9), rebounds (8.2), steals (1.8), assists (2.4) and minutes (31.6) for the Sun.

For the first 13 games of the season, the team leaned heavily on Brionna Jones, Alyssa Thomas and DeWanna Bonner as the Sun got off to a 10-3 start. Jones had 13 points, four rebounds and three assists in the win over Seattle.

“We are heartbroken for Breezy,” said Sun head coach Stephanie White. “Anyone who knows her, knows she’s an amazing person, teammate and leader for our group. On the court, she has worked so hard to position herself as a cornerstone of our franchise and was playing terrific basketball.

“We will be here for her and lift her up as she goes through the recovery process. As a team, we know we have a job to do, and we will dedicate our work toward the ultimate goal of winning a championship in a way that honors Breezy,” White said.

“While this is not how I envisioned this season ending for me, I am determined and ready to head into the next stage of recovery and rehab,” Jones said. “I know I have an amazing support system behind me, and I will return on the other side of this stronger than ever.

“I’m definitely going to miss competing every night with this incredible group of women the most, but I am excited to see this team continue to flourish and accomplish great things this season,” she said.

During her seven years in the league, Jones is a two-time WNBA All-Star (2021, 2022) and most improved player (2021). In 2022, she was named sixth player of the year by the league and the Associated Press.

The team did not announced any timetable for a potential return to basketball.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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