Wilson a chance for Olympics as Penny drops out

Jon Tuxworth April 12, 2012

Carly Wilson's hopes of Olympic Games selection for the Opals have been boosted after an ACL injury to Penny Taylor.

Carly Wilson's hopes of Olympic Games selection for the Opals have been boosted after an ACL injury to Penny Taylor. Photo: Marina Neil

It's not the fashion any player wants their Olympic hopes to be enhanced.

But the odds of Canberra Capitals player Carly Wilson making her Games debut may have firmed after Australian Opals superstar Penny Taylor was ruled out with a serious knee injury yesterday.

The small forward will have surgery in Australia after she tore her anterior cruciate ligament playing for Turkish club Fenerbahce in the EuroLeague.

Alongside Lauren Jackson, Taylor is rated as one of Australia's top two players and her absence is a severe blow to its medal chances at London.

Like Taylor, Wilson's main positions are shooting guard and small forward. She was included in an expanded 24-player Opals squad in mid-February.

The 29-year-old came agonisingly close to making the squad for the last two world championships and the 2008 Olympics, only to be culled late in the selection process.

However, Capitals and Opals coach Carrie Graf was tight-lipped on whether the loss of Taylor would pave the way for Wilson's frustrating run of near-misses to end.

''It's a big squad right now, to suggest who it [Taylor's replacement] might be, that's why we have selection camps for,'' Graf said.

''The first weekend in May [when the next selection camp is held] will give us a good indication of who is capable of making the team.''

Point guard Nicole Hunt, who yesterday announced she has re-signed with Canberra for next season, has her fingers crossed for her Capitals teammate.

The versatile Wilson was named Canberra's Most Valuable Player last season after playing every position bar centre when a glut of injuries hit the club.

''For her [Wilson] it's a tough position, there's a lot of quality players [in Australia] around that two and three spot, but with Penny going down there's an opportunity there and Willo will be one of those [candidates],'' she said.

''Our Caps season was a perfect example of that. She'd be in the one [point guard] and then the four [small forward], or stopping the opposition's best scorer or trying to score buckets for us.

''Hopefully for her it all works out, but I'm glad I'm not choosing the team because I think everyone in the squad is a worthy Olympian.''

Graf watched Taylor succumb to her injury live on the internet, and knew immediately her Olympic chances were doomed when she fell to the court.

She admitted to being annoyed when Fenerbahce allowed her to resume playing not long after the incident.

Graf said Opals medical officials investigated the possibility of Taylor having LARS surgery in a bid to be fit for the Olympics. But Taylor will have a traditional reconstruction.

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