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Originally published May 24, 2013 at 6:48 PM | Page modified May 24, 2013 at 11:53 PM

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Injured Sue Bird hopes to still make contribution to Seattle Storm

A 5-foot-9 point guard, Bird underwent a surgical procedure in May to repair a cyst in her left knee.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Bird in 2012

Games: 29

PPG: 12.6

RPG: 2.7

APG: 5.5

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Sue,please don`t rush back...take time to heal completely. Rather not see you play this... MORE
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Storm coach and general manager Brian Agler normally isn't concerned by much heading into a season — until this year.

All-Stars Sue Bird (knee) and Lauren Jackson (hamstring) will not play the 2013 WNBA season due to offseason surgeries. Add All-Star Katie Smith signing a free-agent contract to play for New York, and Seattle is without three starters from the 2012 playoff team.

"We've played a lot of games since I've been here without Lauren," said Agler of Jackson missing chunks of seasons due to injuries and the 2012 Olympics. "Not that we enjoy it, but we have a good feel for how that is. We haven't played many games without Sue."

The Storm is 2-8 without Bird in the lineup since Agler was hired in 2008.

A 5-foot-9 point guard, Bird underwent a surgical procedure in May to repair a cyst in her left knee. Bone was removed from her hip to fill a hole where the cyst was located.

She'll be on crutches at least until mid-June to let the bone heal. Bird plans to rejoin the Storm on its trip to play Connecticut. She occupies the final slot on the 11-player roster because she's rehabilitating through the team.

The approximate six-month period to get back on the court is the three-time Olympic gold medalist's longest break in a decade.

"It's not something structurally you worry about," Bird said of the knee via phone from her sister's home in Greenwich, Conn.

"My knee is essentially the same (and) I feel good," she continued. "But you have to go through the process. There's a little bit of atrophy. I have to get muscle back."

Bird, 32, plans to return for the Storm's 2014 season.

The focus, though, is helping the new faces learn Agler's system. Seattle opens its season Sunday at Los Angeles.

Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or jevans@seattletimes.com.

On Twitter @JaydaEvans

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