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Originally published September 27, 2011 at 6:26 PM | Page modified September 28, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Storm's Sue Bird has surgery on her right hip

Storm star Sue Bird had surgery Tuesday on her right hip. She is expected to be playing again by December and plans to return to Seattle for an 11th season with the Storm next summer.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Storm All-Star Sue Bird underwent successful surgery Tuesday to repair a labrum tear in her right hip. The procedure was handled by Dr. Marc Philippon, the same surgeon who handled teammate Lauren Jackson's left hip surgery in June.

But unlike Jackson, who missed 20 games to rehabilitate from surgery, Bird's injury is from wear and tear. She was diagnosed with a slight tear in her left hip in November 2010 and told surgery wasn't a necessity.

Philippon examined both and suggested surgery for the right.

Bird scheduled the surgery in Vail, Colo., after the Storm's first-round exit from the WNBA playoffs. Philippon said Bird is expected to be fully rehabilitated by mid-December.

"It's kind of always bugged me," Bird told The Times on Friday. "But I've never had the chance to go get it looked at. It's all about timing and risk vs. reward. Now that I have the time, I want to make the most out of it."

Health is especially important for Bird, 30, this offseason. She signed with a new club in Russia, will compete in the London Olympics and is expected to return to the Storm for an 11th season in 2012.

Bird, who averaged 33.7 minutes in 34 WNBA regular-season games, begins play overseas in January.

"The risk part is not doing anything about it and it getting worse to a point of where I can't play," said Bird, a 5-foot-9 guard. "I'm sure people probably see the game against Phoenix (Sept. 19) and then two days later read this and they go, 'Wait, what? She was just playing.' It is something you can play on. You just have to learn to deal with the pain and manage it. It's more a mobility thing in my case."

Bird led the Storm in scoring (14.7) and assists (4.9). She was fourth in MVP voting and named a co-winner of the league's Sportsmanship award.

Bird is an unrestricted free agent, but she and the organization expect her to return next summer.

"I know in the long run it's better for me," said Bird, who told The Times both hips couldn't be repaired simultaneously. "I'm fortunate to have my fall off, and I have to use that time to make it work for me."

Seattle Times assistant sports editor Jon Fisch contributed to this article.

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