AUSTRALIAN Opals coach Brendan Joyce has urged Lauren Jackson’s Chinese club to reduce her hectic training schedule.
Joyce admits he’s worried the Albury star is being overworked as she battles a niggling Achilles tendon injury.
Basketball Australia will talk with Heilongjiang Shenda in a bid to have Jackson’s twice-a-day training regime scaled back to ensure she’s in good health for next year’s world championships in Turkey.
Joyce is worried his overseas-based players are being “physically worn down” by clubs who expect them to justify their big money contracts.
Jackson missed the Canberra Capitals’ entire 2012-13 season through injury and has committed to the WNBL club for 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.
“I’ve got to make sure our (overseas) girls don’t get broke,” Joyce said.
“Lauren, Penny (Taylor), Erin Phillips and (Liz) Cambage, that’s four of our big names that are going to lead us to the worlds.
“A lot of the girls are getting physically worn down and getting injured from being over-trained.
“It’s a concern not only with L.J. — it’s a concern with all of our players around the world.
“It’s tough because these teams are paying them a lot of money.
“The more they pay them the more they expect them to train.”
Joyce is confident a deal can be reached.
Basketball Australia’s new high performance manager Chuck Harmison will talk to Heilongjiang Shenda to ensure Jackson receives the treatment and care needed.
“At the Opals I wouldn’t expect her to train twice a day and I wouldn’t make her train twice a day,” Joyce said.
“She’ll deliver at a higher level if she’s getting taken care of and obviously she’ll be playing and training in less pain.
“If her training workload’s reduced it will be OK.”
Joyce said it was not out of the question Jackson might undergo minor surgery after the Chinese season finishes in February, though she wouldn’t be out for a long period if that happened.
“She’s shown she can play well with it, but it might be in her best interests if she goes down that pathway and has a clear picture for the world campaign,” he said.
Last year Patrick Mills’ stint with Chinese club Xinjiang Flying Tigers turned sour when it accused the Australian Boomer of faking a hamstring injury.
Heilongjiang Shenda is based in Harbin, northern China, where the maximum temperature yesterday was minus 14 degrees and sunset was just before 4pm.