NEW YORK (AP) – WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne is waiting to have her case heard by the league’s independent panel of doctors to see if she’ll be medically excused for the season, according to the Washington Mystics.
The Mystics star, who was the league Most Valuable Player last year, has battled Lyme Disease since 2008 and would potentially be at a higher risk for serious illness if she contracted the new coronavirus.
Her new Washington teammate Tina Charles is also waiting for a decision from the panel. Neither player is in Florida right now with the team.
Charles was traded to the Mystics from the New York Liberty in the offseason. If Delle Donne and Charles miss the season the Mystics would be down to 10 players on the roster.
The panel of physicians decides whether a player would be medically excused and receive full salary for the upcoming season, which is scheduled to start at the end of the month at IMG Academy in Florida. Players can still opt out and skip the season if the panel does not grant them a medical waiver. They will not get paid if they opt out.
Delle Donne is one of a handful cases that are waiting to hear back from the leagueâ€™s independent panel of doctors.
Signing replacement players wouldn’t be as easy as previous seasons. Any player that Washington would sign would have to get to Florida and go through quarantine and COVID-19 testing. The Mystics arrived on Monday and training camp is slated to begin Friday, assuming everything goes fine with the current quarantine that all WNBA teams are under since arriving at IMG Academy.
Washington is already without Natasha Cloud and LaToya Sanders, who decided to opt out of the season last month.
Delle Donne was traded to Washington before the 2017 season and helped the franchise win its first WNBA championship last year. She became the first WNBA player to shoot over 50% from the field (51.5%), 40% from behind the 3-point line (43%), and 90% from the foul line (97.4%). Only eight NBA players have accomplished that milestone.
The 6-foot-5 All-Star forward played through three herniated discs in her back during last year’s finals.
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