Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Sun’s Alyssa Thomas set to make surprise return vs. Liberty just nine months after tearing Achilles tendon

Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas is set for a shocking return to the lineup just nine months after tearing her Achilles tendon. Thomas has officially been listed as probable for the Sun’s matchup with the New York Liberty on Wednesday night. 

While speaking to reporters after practice, Sun center Beatrice Mompremier spilled the beans by saying she “can’t wait” to see Thomas take the floor. Later on, Sun coach Curt Miller addressed Thomas’ availability by saying, “She had a good practice again today, so I’ll put it that way. We are very optimistic.”

In January, Thomas left ZVVZ USK Praha, the team for which she was playing in the Czech Republic, and returned to the United States with what was described as a serious injury. The Sun later confirmed that Thomas had suffered a torn Achilles tendon and undergone successful surgery. That press release came on Jan. 20, just under nine months ago. 

Given the severity of the injury and timeline of the WNBA season, most assumed Thomas would not be available until 2022. Instead, she’s set to return and could be a huge boost to the Sun’s title chances. Despite Thomas’ absence, the Sun have been dominant this season, especially since the Olympic break. 

Thanks to their current 12-game winning streak, they’re atop the league at 24-6 and have secured not only a bye to the semifinals, but also home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. Right now, they look like the team to beat and could soon claim their first title in franchise history. Thomas’ impending return only adds to the good vibes. 

But while this is mostly good news, it’s fair to have a little concern here, both for Thomas and the Sun. Modern medicine is getting better every year, but nine months is still extremely fast for someone to return from a torn Achilles. And not just get back on the court, but jump into the most intense basketball of the season. While Thomas will obviously want to help her team win a championship, it’s fair to worry about the potential for re-injury. 

In addition, the Sun have been playing such tremendous basketball — 12 straight wins, 10 of which have been by double-digits — that messing with the chemistry in any way comes with a risk. That’s not to criticize Thomas, who is a very good and unselfish player, but more to point out that everyone is comfortable and thriving with the current roles and rotations. Adding Thomas, who is going to be rusty after such a long layoff, into the mix right before the playoffs will force everyone to reset. The Sun will hope her talent outweighs those potential negatives, but it is something to think about. 

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