A bad season for the Silver Stars got worse Monday.
Guard Becky Hammon, one of the best players in WNBA history, has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee and is almost certainly out for the season after playing only one game.
Hammon, who missed the first 10 games of the season with a broken right middle finger, played 12 minutes before suffering the knee injury midway through the second quarter of Saturday night's loss to the Los Angeles Sparks.
Hammon had an MRI on Monday morning and the examconfirmedshe had a torn ACLligament.
The Silver Stars have been plagued by injuries since before the season started in May. They had only eight players healthy enough to suit upfor a game against Atlanta on June 30.
Forward Sophia Young, who led the team in scorting, rebounding and steals last year, tore the ACL in her right knee while playing in the Women's Chinese Basketball Association playoffs in late January. Young had surgery in February and has not played this season.
DeLisha Milton Jones (leg), Jayne Appel (concussion) and Shenise Johnson (knee) also have been sidelined with injuries this season, buteach hasreturned to play.
Hammon has been Silver Stars' leader since 2007
The team said in a news release Monday that Hammon, 36, will have surgery this week and a timetable for her return will be determined when she begins her rehabilitation. But the injury is expected to sideline Hammon for the rest of the season.
The Silver Stars have 23 regular-season games left and are scheduled to end the season Sept. 15.
A seven-time All-Star, Hammon had two points, a rebound and an assist before getting hurt while driving near the baseline. She crumpled to the floor and had to be carried off the court.
The Sparks rolled to a 93-66 victory over the Silver Stars, who dropped to 3-8.
The Silver Stars have struggled without Hammon, who has been the face of the franchise and the team's inspirational leader since being traded to San Antonio by the New York Liberty in April 2007. This season was her 15th in the WNBA.
Named to the All-WNBA first team in 2007,Hammon helped lead the Silver Stars to the Western Conference finals in her first season with the team. She made the All-WNBA second team in 2005 and 2008.
Hammon made the Liberty roster as an undrafted rookie in 1999, and played in New York for eight seasons before being traded to the Silver Stars.
Hammon, a Colorado State alum,was second in the league last season in assists (176) and 3-pointers (80).
A two-time Olympian, Hammon became a naturalized Russian citizen in 2008. She played on the Russian Olympic team in 2008 and 2012.
Hammon a fan favorite in San Antonio
While Hammon hasn't played her entire pro career in San Antonio, she is to the Silver Stars what Tim Duncan is to the Spurs: a consistent force on both ends of the court.
Like Duncan, Hammon loves the game and is a consummate professional. Although Duncan is a post player and Hammon is a guard, they share other similarities. Both have worked hard to stay sharp as they've gotten older, and both worship at the altar of basketball fundamentals.
Although only 5-foot-6, Hammon is a tough cookie who never has hesitated to put the ball on the floor and drive to the basket. She combines her skills with a craftiness that makes her fun to watch.
Hammon has also been an exemplary ambassador for the Silver Stars and the WNBA. Classy and affable, she quickly won over local fans with her hustle on the court and friendly demeanor off the floor.
Unfortunately, we won't have a chance to see Hammon play any more this season. And considering her age, one has to wonder if the knee injury will end her career.
But even if she never plays again, Hammon can rest assured that she will be remembered for years to come by San Antonio sports fans who always have admired and respected her competitive fire.
Here's hoping she can come back next season and add to her sparkling legacy.
The Silver Stars play the Mercury in Phoenix on Wednesday and host the Washington Mystics on Friday night at the AT&T Center.