MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Lynx star Seimone Augustus will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL in her left knee.
Augustus was the Lynx's leading scorer with 21 points per game, third-best in the WNBA. The two-time All-Star, who played on the U.S. Olympic team last summer, was hurt in the second quarter of Wednesday's 104-80 loss at Phoenix.
She immediately grabbed her knee and screamed, and coach Jennifer Gillom said she feared the worst.
Augustus had an MRI exam on Thursday, which revealed the tear in her anterior cruciate ligament.
"I was devastated," teammate Candice Wiggins said Friday on a conference call, before the Lynx played at Seattle.
Wiggins said Augustus sent an encouraging text message. Gillom said Augustus was distraught by the injury. The fourth-year player will need surgery, though an exact date has not yet been determined.
The Lynx have won four of their first six games, and are in second place in the Western Conference.
In 105 games, all with Minnesota, Augustus is averaging 21.2 points and 3.9 rebounds.
"Seimone has been playing at an MVP level to start the season and has been our leader on the court," executive vice president Roger Griffith said. "Knowing Seimone, she will work hard in her rehab efforts to get back on the court as soon as possible. In the interim, we have a tremendous amount of talent on this team, and I am confident that the players on our roster will step up and continue our early season success."
Gillom took over as coach two weeks ago, when Don Zierden abruptly resigned and left for a job in the NBA. She said she believes the team is strong enough to be able to adjust to the loss of the emotional leader.
"We've just got to deal with it and accept the challenge," Gillom said.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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