Her season lasted 42 seconds. Now Rebecca Lobo, one of the WNBA's marquee players, is the season's first major casualty.

The New York Liberty star will miss the remainder of the season because of a torn knee ligament that will require surgery.

"I'm terribly disappointed that this happened," Lobo said today at Beth Israel Hospital, where she was undergoing therapy. "But I'm upbeat because I'm in great care. I will be on the sidelines during the season cheering on my teammates. I will be back next season."

Lobo tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee in the first minute of the team's season opener Thursday night. Team physician Susan Craig-Scott said Lobo will have surgery in two to three weeks and her rehabilitation will take a minimum of six months.

"She should be ready next season," Craig-Scott said. "We expect her to be back. She's a tough kid."

Lobo, who has started all 59 Liberty games, was hurt during New York's 87-60 victory over Cleveland. On the second possession, Lobo grabbed a rebound after Kym Hampton's missed shot, pivoted and fell. She clutched her leg for about 30 seconds as play continued before an official called an injury timeout.

"I went in, got a sweet offensive rebound," Lobo said. "And when I came down, I thought somebody hit me on the side of the knee and it just buckled. . . . But people who watched video of the play said nobody hit me."

Lobo, the Liberty's leading rebounder each of the past two seasons, with 7.3 and 6.9 per game, respectively, was helped off the floor by Hampton and Sue Wicks.

Before this season, the former Connecticut all-American said her worst injury required arthroscopic knee surgery.

"I never felt anything like this before," she said. "It's the first injury that's taken me out of commission for this long a time. It's the first time I've had something of this magnitude."

CAPTION: New York Liberty's Rebecca Lobo is helped by Sue Wicks, left, Kym Hampton after suffering season-ending knee injury in opener Thursday. (Photo ran in an earlier edition)