After winning almost every award under the sun in 2018, former UConn women’s basketball star Breanna Stewart will miss the rest of 2019 after tearing her achilles in the EuroLeague Championship Game. Stewart’s father as well as her Russian team, Dynamo Kursk, have both confirmed the injury. The former Husky landed on fellow WNBA star Brittany Griner’s foot after a jump shot and immediately went down in pain.
Stewart won WNBA MVP in 2018 while leading the Seattle Storm to a WNBA title, where Stewart was named Finals MVP. She also won a FIBA World Cup gold medal, Seattle’s Person of the Year from The Athletic, USA Basketball’s Female Player of the Year and ranked as the No. 7 most dominant athlete of 2018 by ESPN.
With the current WNBA Collective Bargaining Agreement ending after the 2019 season, Stewart’s injury will likely have a major impact on negotiations. The maximum salary in the league is just $117,000 while first-year players make between $42,000 and $52,000 per year. When Diana Taurasi sat out the 2015 WNBA season, she made $1.5 million in Russia.
Players have a finite window to maximize their earnings playing basketball and because of that, need to play year-round which leaves them more susceptible to injury. The Players’ Association’s case for improving conditions for players in the next round of negotiations only gets stronger after the best player in the world gets injured overseas.
Achilles tears are one of the tougher injuries to come back with, though Stewart’s father believes she’ll come back from it.
“I don’t think it’s a career-ending type of injury,” Brian Stewart told Syracuse.com. “But it’s certainly going to put her in the barn for a while.”
View this post on Instagram
First off, I just want to say thank you for the tremendous amount of love and support I’ve received over the past few days. The situation is still a shock to me, I have ruptured my right achilles tendon. This year especially has been amazing and filled with lots of success and as we all know there are highs and lows throughout a career. This is just another obstacle that I will overcome. I’m thankful that I have so many people in my corner to help me every step of the way. I’m feeling every emotion possible at this point but just know that the bounce back will be real and I’ll be back better than ever. ~Stewie