INDIANAPOLIS – U.S. Olympic gold medalist and five-time WNBA All-Star forward Tamika Catchings will undergo surgery on Wednesday, Sept. 5, to repair a torn Achilles tendon sustained during the second quarter of Monday night’s Eastern Conference Finals loss in Detroit.
Catchings collapsed to the floor with 43.2 seconds remaining in the first half. She was taken from the floor in a wheelchair, and flew back to Indianapolis late Monday night with team physician Dr. David Harsha.
Surgery will be performed by Dr. Dan Lehman, affiliated with St.Vincent Sports Medicine, and Orthopedics of Indianapolis. Catchings’ anticipated recovery time following surgery is between six and nine months.
A top candidate for WNBA MVP honors through the first half of the 2007 season, Catchings missed the final 13 games of the regular season after sustaining a partial tear of the plantar fascia in her left foot. She made a successful return to the court just in time for the first round of the WNBA Playoffs, averaging 19.7 points and 15.3 rebounds in a 2-1 first-round series win over Connecticut. Catchings posted double-doubles in all three games of the series. Her 46 rebounds were a WNBA record for a 3-game playoff series, and her 20 rebounds in Game 1 of the series, her first game back from injury, was the second-best playoff figure ever.
In 21 games, she finished the regular season with an average of 16.9 points, and career-best figures of 9.0 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. She topped the WNBA with 3.1 steals per contest and led the Fever in scoring, rebounds, steals and assists for a sixth straight season. With Catchings in the lineup, Indiana raced to a 16-4 record to begin the year – the best 20-game mark in Eastern Conference history.
The Fever finished the regular season 21-13 for a third consecutive year, becoming the first Eastern Conference team ever to boast three straight 20-win seasons. The Fever outlasted Connecticut to advance to the Eastern Finals for the second time in three seasons, but after winning Game 1 of the best-of-three series against Detroit, lost Games 2 and 3.