Injury means Sue Bird can attend World Cup final

Sports

United States’ Megan Rapinoe gestures during a training session of the US Women’s Soccer team at a training ground in Lyon, France, Monday, July 1, 2019. The US will face England in a Women’s World Cup semifinal match Tuesday in Lyon. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

SEATTLE (AP) — Sue Bird found one upside to having knee surgery that has kept her out of the entire WNBA season to date.

She won’t be missing any playing time to attend the Women’s World Cup final on Sunday in Lyon, France, to see if the United States can win its fourth title.

“What they’re doing right now, it’s amazing,” Bird said Wednesday.

Despite not playing so much as a second this season for the Seattle Storm, Bird has found herself in the news, especially this week because of her article on The Players’ Tribune website regarding girlfriend Megan Rapinoe and the U.S. performance at the World Cup.

Bird said she sat down to write the article last Sunday and it was published on Tuesday, and so far most of the comments have been positive. The headline caught attention for its reference to President Donald Trump and his comments regarding Rapinoe , although Bird said the headline was more a reference to an article she wrote for the website last September after she broke her nose during Seattle’s run to the WNBA title.

“On some levels, if you read it, there is some humor in there. It’s a light, fun way to use your voice, but also address some things,” Bird said. “More than anything I wanted to hype Megan up a little bit and also have her back. … It was challenging at times trying to get the right messaging across that I wanted to convey, but I think all in all I’m happy with it. There has been a lot more love than hate. Unfortunately, there has been some hate, but that’s just reality we live in right now.”

Bird said she doesn’t view what she wrote as a political statement.

“I don’t feel political. To me, this isn’t a matter of tax reform and things of that nature,” she said. “This is treating people with respect, treating people like they’re a human, just like you are. That’s where I stand with it. That’s what I believe in. It’s very similar to what Megan believes in. More than anything, I wanted to have her back, and talk about some soccer.”

Bird’s rehabilitation on her left knee is continuing, but the surgery she had in late May was a bit more extensive than initially expected and has put any return this season in question. She said it’s similar to 2013, when she ended up missing the entire season following knee surgery.

“I was actually ready right around the playoffs. Then it becomes this team has played an entire season without me, is that fair. And I’m already putting the carriage before the horse because who knows if I’m going to be ready by then,” she said. “It was definitely more extensive than we had initially thought going in. Which isn’t a bad thing, I think long term it’s a good thing. It just kind of sucks for this season.”

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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