Rachel Jarry returns to Opals training after injury

RACHEL Jarry is set to return to on-court action this week after almost six months sidelined after knee surgery.

Australian WNBA basketball players Jenna O’Hea and Rachel Jarry.

Australian WNBA basketball players Jenna O’Hea and Rachel Jarry.

Jarry has been cleared to take part in activities for an Australian Opals training camp in Canberra from Sunday.

The former Ballarat basketballer played three games for Melbourne Boomers under former Miners’ coach Guy Molloy before injury cut her Women’s National Basketball League season short in January.

Injury has also prevented Jarry from returning to her American club, Minnesota Lynx, for its WNBA title defence.

Jarry, 22, has attended all three Opals training camps this year, as part of her rehabilitation program, with the Opals preparing for their FIBA women’s world championship campaign in Turkey this September.

Opals head coach Brendan Joyce, a former Miners’ head coach, was excited to have the London Olympic bronze medallist back on the floor.

“It’s been a long time coming for Rachel and it’s great for her, and the squad, to have her back in full training,” Joyce said.

“Despite her injury, Rachel has stayed committed to the Jayco Opals program, attending every camp and that will stand her in good stead to transition smoothly into our system.”

Jarry is the first Ballarat basketballer to have played the sport in an American professional league.

Hailing from Hoppers Crossing in Werribee, Jarry played one season with Ballarat Lady Miners in 2010 – a breakout season in which she was named the Lady Miners and the South East Australian Basketball League’s most valuable player.

She was set to return as a restricted player in 2011 but remained sidelined with a knee injury – the same year Jarry was taken at pick 18 in the WNBA draft.

Alice Kunek, who played with Ballarat Rush last season, will miss three to four months with a shoulder injury but Joyce is open to considering her for the world championships.

Meanwhile, Lucas Walker continued to show Australian Boomers coach Andrei Lemanis he could play a world cup role if needed.

The former Ballarat Miner made a strong impact at both ends of the floor when the Sino-Australian basketball challenge moved to China at the weekend.

It follows his stellar form in his Boomers’ debut for games one and two against China in Perth last week.

Walker was particularly influential, with 14 points in game three, including the opening two baskets, despite a 15-point loss in the Jiangsu Province.

He also started in game four, which China won by five points on Sunday night to tie the series at two games apiece.

This four-game series was about providing chances for emerging players like Walker, a Melbourne United forward, with NBA and European stars Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills, Aron Baynes, Matthew Dellavedova, Joe Ingles, Brad Newley, David Andersen and David Barlow unavailable.

The Boomers’ FIBA World Cup campaign tips off in Spain on August 30.

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