Lauren Jackson’s return to basketball may be over after the Australian star suffered an Achilles injury during a tribute game last weekend.

The game between Southside Flyers and Sydney Flames was being played in honor of Jackson, who is set to retire at the end of the WNBL season. In front of a WNBL-record 7,681 fans, Jackson collided with Flames forward Jocelyn Willoughby and had to exit the court just 62 seconds into the game. She later reappeared on crutches.

“The great news is that it’s not my broken foot, it’s the other one,” Jackson joked of the injury.

The Hall of Famer had un-retired at 40 years old last February to play for the Albury Wodonga Bandits, six years after her last professional game.

“For me, I said I was on borrowed time,” she continued. “It’s hard, the way that I feel right now, I don’t know. I’m pretty tough, but when I felt it, I felt something pop. I was just standing there, I said to the referee that I can’t actually walk.

“As soon as I felt it pop, I was like oh my god, that’s my day over. I went to try and walk and I couldn’t. The poor ref, she said she can’t stop the game, I said that’s fine, but I can’t actually move so I don’t know what to do.”

On Thursday, the Flyers announced that Jackson had undergone surgery to repair the Achilles tear as well as an already planned surgery to repair a fracture in her foot. The team added that Jackson will not consider her playing future until after completing “an extensive rehab program.”

In a tweet, Jackson called the last 12 months “the most amazing journey.”

“I’m so thankful,” she wrote. “It’s sad to be here right now but nah this sport has given me soooo much. I’m so lucky.”

Jackson returned from an injury-forced retirement last April before helping the Opals to a bronze medal at the FIBA Women’s World Cup. The 41-year-old played most of her career with the WNBA’s Seattle Storm. She is a three-time WNBA MVP, seven-time WNBA All-Star and two-time WNBA champion.

“While my season is over, I will continue to be part of the team and help where I can, to ensure we continue to work to earn the success we are capable of. I’m very, very proud to be a Flyer,” Jackson said.

Australian national basketball team star Lauren Jackson tried to convince Sue Bird to make one last appearance at the FIBA World Cup, but she couldn’t lure her former Seattle Storm teammate to Sydney.

“I tried to get her to get here, I tried to get her to come,” Jackson said.

A three-time WNBA MVP for the Storm, Jackson, 41, came out of retirement earlier this year in her home country and is playing at her first World Cup since 2010.

Bird, also 41, retired from the WNBA after the Storm’s playoff exit in September. Her retirement brought a wave of fanfare, as many attribute the rise of women’s basketball to players like Bird, who won a record five Olympic gold medals with Team USA and four World Championship medals.

Jackson played with Bird in Seattle from 2002 to 2012, winning two WNBA championships. Jackson had her No. 15 retired by the Storm in 2015.

“Sue has just been instrumental. What is basketball without Sue Bird? I don’t know,” Jackson said. “I don’t know what it looks like. It’ll be interesting to see how Team USA goes without her at the head of things.”

This year will be Team USA’s first in more than two decades without either Bird or Diana Taurasi on the court. Sylvia Fowles and Tina Charles also will be absent, having either retired or moved on from Team USA.

In their places, players including Sabrina Ionescu and Kahleah Copper have earned their first major international nods. WNBA rookie Shakira Austin also has made the squad.

Still, for Jackson, who is one of the most seasoned players at the tournament, it will be weird to play without Bird.

“Sue has been great for me, talking me through stuff and working with me on stuff,” she said. “I wish she was here. But it’s her time to shine now and go and do whatever she wants with her life.”

For the first time in 12 years, three-time WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson will suit up for the Australian national women’s basketball team at a FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup.

The tournament, which will take place in Sydney beginning Sept. 22, marks her first appearance on that stage since 2010. Jackson retired from international basketball nine years ago, and in 2016 she retired from basketball altogether due to a knee injury.

From there, the four-time Olympic medalist moved into basketball administration for the WNBL’s Melbourne Boomers. She later joined Basketball Australia, helping to oversee the league and women’s hoops in the country.

She made her comeback to professional basketball in April, suiting up with Australia’s Albury Wodonga Bandits.

New York Liberty and Australia national team head coach Sandy Brondello made the announcement Tuesday, telling Jackson in a video call that was posted on social media. The two formerly played together on the national team.

“Congratulations, Lauren Jackson, you’re going to another World Cup,” Brondello said. “You should be incredibly proud, Lauren. And I am incredibly proud, because what you did to achieve this, it really is amazing. It shows a lot about you as a person and your hard work and dedication.

“It’s not your first one, but hopefully it’ll be a great one.”

Jackson, who was choked up and a bit speechless at the news, said that she “didn’t honestly know” if her body will hold up through the intense training regimen she undertook for her comeback.

“But it has and I’m feeling good,” she said.

Others named to the team include WNBA players Bec Allen and Sami Whitcomb (New York Liberty), Ezi Magbegor and Steph Talbot (Seattle Storm) and Kristy Wallace (Atlanta Dream).

Lauren Jackson will get the chance to play for the Australian national team for the first time in nine years after being named to the Opals’ preliminary squad for the upcoming FIBA World Cup.

The 41-year-old came out of retirement in April, playing with Albury Wodonga — her first professional-level basketball game in six years. She’s been tearing up the court since then, leading the NBL1 Eastern Conference with 32.6 points — the most of any player in any conference — and 11.6 rebounds per game.

A three-time World championship medalist — including gold in 2006 — Jackson is an Australian Basketball hall of famer, having been inducted in 2019. Jackson spent 11 seasons in the WNBA, winning two WNBA championships and three times being named MVP while playing for Seattle. She was also named the Finals MVP in 2010 and was the league’s scoring champion three times.

“I never expected to get to this point so every day I get past here is a blessing and I truly feel like one of the luckiest people in the world to be getting another shot after the way my career ended,” Jackson told the Daily Telegraph. “There’s a little bit of apprehension. I’m definitely a little bit scared and excited, but who knows what will happen with my body.

“It kind of feels like I’m a kid again vying for a position. When I found out I made it into the squad, I had a moment of shock. It’s reality now and [I’m] getting into the mind frame again of competing to wear the green and gold again.”

Hall of Famer Lauren Jackson returned to the court with Australia’s Albury Wodonga Bandits on Saturday, two months after coming out of retirement.

In her first game back, Jackson looked to be in top form, recording 21 points, five rebounds and one block to lead the Bandits to a 78-61 victory over the Central Coast Crusaders.

The 40-year-old hasn’t played professionally in six years after an illustrious career that included three WNBA MVP awards, four WNLB MVP honors, four Olympics with the Australian national team and seven appearances in the WNBA All-Star Game. Jackson was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame last year as part of the Class of 2021.

Jackson announced her return to Australia’s second-tier NBL1 league in February after knee injuries forced her to retire in 2016.

“We’re just over the moon that Lauren’s playing for her hometown and her home club,” Bandits president Luke Smith said after she signed with the team. “It’s huge for the Albury Wodonga Bandits and for the Albury Wodonga community.”