Stephanie Watts ruled out of WNBL 21-22 season with injury
Star Flames import Steph Watts will miss the remainder of the WNBL season after sustaining a major knee injury during training at the weekend.
The quality American guard went up for a blocked shot in the final stages of training on Sunday when she sustained the injury.
Scans confirmed Watts has torn her anterior cruciate ligament in her knee and will require surgery.
Brydens Sydney Uni Flames coach Shane Heal said the team was devastated for Watts who has already proven a a quality contributor both on and off the court.
“I’m absolutely shattered for Steph’s season-ending injury,” Heal said.
“Not so much as a coach or team but as a dad and past player I’m really hurting for her. Steph got here early and has improved so much in that time.
“We will help her from now and make sure she is looked after and I know she will come back bigger and stronger but it was definitely an emotional time for us all.”
The Flames were training across the weekend after their scheduled game in Canberra was postponed due to a COVID positive case of a UC Capitals team member.
Watts was one of the star performers in the Flames’ opening game of the WNBL season at Qudos Bank Arena on December 5.
Watts, who was drafted at no. 10 in last season’s WNBA Draft to Los Angeles Sparks, top-scored for the Flames with 16 points and grabbed five rebounds in an eye-catching Australian debut.
The Flames are set to travel to Queensland later this week to take on the Townsville Fire on Saturday night and Heal has already begun the search for a replacement import.
“As a team we will look for a replacement player at a tough time to find players,” he said.
“Other players will now need to step up as we look to take on Townsville and then Melbourne who are two of the league’s best teams.”
The next Flames home game will be part of a double header with the Sydney Kings at Qudos Bank Arena on December 22. The Flames will take on the Melbourne Boomers from 5 pm while the Kings will play the Tasmanian JackJumpers from 7.30 pm.