Kelsey Griffin will undergo hip surgery on Wednesday and she will miss the rest of the WNBL season.
The Bendigo Spirit star has a “significant” tear in her right labral and faces up to six months on the sidelines.
After playing through pain in her hip, hamstring and back for the best part of years, Griffin said the decision to have the surgery now was based on her longevity in the sport.
“The surgeon that I spoke with said that if I keep playing now that I’m putting my hip at high risk of degeneration,’’ Griffin said.
“He said it’s a surgery I need sooner rather than later for my health and my longevity in sport.
“It was a very tough decision that I had to make, but my health and wellbeing had to come first.
“It’s bad as it is, but if I wait my hip could significantly get worse and I wouldn’t be able to recover as well.
“The surgeon said there’s no reason why I won’t get back (to full fitness).
“In all honesty, this surgery will help me with everything else that’s going on around my hamstring and back.”
Griffin’s injury couldn’t come at a worse time for the seventh-placed Spirit.
They have a 2-5 record and need everything to go right to push for a play-off berth.
“We’re looking through our options, but we’re in a tough spot because we don’t have a lot of money and Kelsey is an Australian player,’’ coach Simon Pritchard said.
“It’s basically impossible to replace Kelsey because she’s one of the most dominant players in the league, but we’d like to bring in a player to increase our training squad.
“The upside is that young players within our squad will get their chance to assert themselves and step up and play.”
While Griffin won’t be in uniform for the Spirit for the rest of the season, she plans to play a key role from the sidelines.
“I have every intention to being at every training session I can,’’ Griffin said.
“I want to be a mentor for some of the younger girls. With all the leadership meetings I’ve been at with Simon (Pritchard) and Gabe (Richards) I feel as though I have a good grasp of what Simon wants from our offence. I feel as though I can help our point guards understand how to run plays.
“I want to be around the team to help out as much as I can.”