Mystics’ Elena Delle Donne exits loss to Sun with apparent ankle re-injury ahead of All-Star Game

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Washington Mystics star Elena Delle Donne appeared to re-injure her left ankle in the second quarter of a 92-84 loss to the Connecticut Sun on Sunday afternoon.

With a 1:20 remaining in the second quarter, the former WNBA MVP was seen limping toward the locker room after she landed on DeWanna Bonner‘s foot in an effort to contest a midrange jumper. She was officially ruled out with an ankle sprain in an announcement from the team shortly after.

After the game, head coach Eric Thibault told reporters the team would know more about Delle Donne’s status after arriving back in D.C., but added she was “frustrated” more than anything, according to NBC Sports Washington commentator Tyler Byrum.

Playing just 13 minutes, she recorded two rebounds, two assists and two steals. This comes after she sprained the same ankle late in the Mystics’ 94-89 loss to the Atlanta Dream on June 30.

Washington Mystics' Elena Delle Donne listens to head coach Eric Thibault during a WNBA basketball game against the Chicago Sky Thursday, June 22, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)Washington Mystics' Elena Delle Donne listens to head coach Eric Thibault during a WNBA basketball game against the Chicago Sky Thursday, June 22, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Washington Mystics center Elena Delle Donne was ruled out of Sunday’s matchup with an ankle injury. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

For the Sun, Bonner and Alyssa Thomas scored or assisted on 67% of Connecticut’s points in the win, according to ESPN.

Bonner recorded 28 points, four rebounds and four assists, while Thomas added 22 points, nine rebounds and six assists

The Mystics were led by Tianna Hawkins, who notched 24 points on 10-for-12 shooting from the field and four rebounds.

After Delle Donne missed two games, she was cleared to return ahead of Sunday’s game, even warming up without a brace or wrap. While it’s unclear how long she’ll be sidelined, it seems likely she won’t be able to play in the upcoming All-Star Game as she hoped.

The three-time All-Star starter was picked last in the All-Star Game Draft on Saturday by Las Vegas Aces star A’ja Wilson ahead of the game on Saturday at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas.

When Delle Donne took to social media to joke about her late selection, ESPN’s LaChina Robinson assured her that uncertainty about her availability was the determining factor.

The 33-year-old was hampered by back injuries during the past three seasons and appeared to be back in full form this summer. Ahead of Sunday’s game, she was averaging 19.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists.

She and Thomas headlined this year’s list of 12 All-Star Game reserves. Delle Donne even appeared to confirm she’d be able to play in the event when Wilson asked, responding with a GIF of herself masking up.

While Delle Donne’s potential absence from the All-Star Game is unfortunate for fans, her absence is a major loss for the 10-8 Mystics. The shorthanded team committed 18 turnovers and struggled on defense, especially in the fourth quarter during Sunday’s loss.

Washington was without starting center Shakira Austin, who went down on June 25 with a hip injury that is expected to keep her sidelined for at least three weeks. Guard Natasha Cloud was also out with an ankle injury she sustained this week. Guard Kristi Toliver has been out since June 16 with plantar fasciitis in her foot.

While the team holds out hope for Delle Donne’s swift return, it is reportedly expecting Toliver to be back sometime after the All-Star break.

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