Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Sparks released two-time WNBA Champion, and 2007 WNBA Finals MVP, Cappie Pondexter, due to her inability to find regular playing time, according to head coach Brian Agler.
“We really enjoyed having her on our team,” Agler said. “It came down to playing time, her desire to play more. We just couldn’t provide that for her with the way Riquna [Williams] and Odyssey [Sims] are playing.”
Pondexter is coming off a season with the Chicago Sky where she averaged 27.2 minutes per game. Those numbers dropped significantly this season, where she saw only 10.2 minutes over 13 games.
“Now she has the ability to talk to 11 other teams,” Agler said, “and we have the ability now to free up cap space to potentially sign somebody else.”
Mystics’ Elena Delle Donne Receiving Treatment on Back
Washington Mystics’ superstar Elena Delle Donne is doing her best to return to the court during the WNBA Finals, and is receiving extensive treatment on her back this week, Mystics head coach Mike Thibault said.
Game 3 will take place at Connecticut.
“She’s having treatment now. It’s obviously extensive, it’s with our doctors and physical therapists,” Thibault said Thursday. “I talk to her once or twice a day, and I’ve already seen her today. I’m updated fairly regularly.”
Delle Donne injured her knee during Game 2 of the 2018 WNBA Finals against the Seattle Storm, but returned for the last two games of the series, which Washington ended up losing.
Now, Delle Donne’s status for another WNBA Finals Game 3 is uncertain.
“She’s in good spirits,” Mystics’ Natasha Cloud said. “She’s going to be a leader regardless; that’s who she is.
“We have to prepare for Elena to not be in the game. It’s a bonus if she is. We’re extremely hopeful that she will be. But every person, one through 12, has a role on this team and has significance. So we’re extremely capable.”
Regardless, the Mystics know they have to improve their play on the court, with our without Delle Donne.
“We can do some things better; that’s both individual and team pride stuff,” Thibault said. “It’s staying focused on the most important things in order of priority. It’s a little different in preparing for a game like this when you know ahead of time that Elena’s hurt.
“That happened three to four minutes into the game, and it took us a little bit of time to recover from it. Responsibilities change, too. I think we’ll have a better mindset just going into the game of what we need to do.”
Connecticut coach Curt Miller discussed how difficult it is to prepare for Game 3 with Delle Donne’s status up in the air.
“You have to do your due diligence and prepare for both,” Miller said. “They have a system, a schematic way of playing. And they can plug Emma into a lot of the same things they plug Elena into. They can still play big with Hawkins, Emma and LaToya Sanders together. So you still have big lineups to prepare for.
“This longer stretch between [Games] 2 and 3 gives us the mindset that Delle Donne will be back and will play. We go in with the anticipation she will be back.”
Mystics’ Elena Delle Donne Has Herniated Disc
Washington Mystics’ superstar forward and WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne has a small disk herniation in her back, an MRI revealed on Wednesday.
Delle Donne exited the Mystics’ Game 2 loss to the Connecticut Sun, after only a few minutes, with what was initially described as back spasms.
The Mystics say Delle Donne is currently undergoing treatment, but declined to specify what kind of treatment the reigning MVP would be undergoing.
Game 3 takes place on Sunday, and as of now it is unclear what Delle Donne’s status is for the pivotal Game 3.
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Mystics’ Elena Delle Donne Exits Game 2
Washington Mystics’ superstar and WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donna exited Game 2 of the WNBA Finals during the first quarter due to back spasms, and did not return as the Mystics lost to the Connecticut Sun 99-87 to even the series at one game apiece.
Delle Donne, who only played 3 minutes and 28 seconds before exiting, will undergo an MRI on Wednesday, Mystics coach Mike Thibault said, according to ESPNW’s Mechelle Voepel.
“We’ll see. But I have no idea right now,” Thibault said of Delle Donne’s status. “And we won’t have anything probably for a couple days until we see what the tests show and what treatment looks like.”
Game 3 takes place in Connecticut on Sunday afternoon.
“I didn’t look forward to having four days between games,” Thibault said. “But right now, that looks like a benefit.”
“She’s just had kind of ongoing, late in the season, just tightness,” Thibault continued. “And we’ve been able to treat it, and it’s responded pretty well, and she’s been OK.
“I don’t even know what to tell you about it right now, other than it is an injury, and we’re going to figure it out.”
“I mean, just we’ve got to stay true to who we are,” Washington guard Kristi Toliver said. “We will regroup. We will bounce back. This team is not in any type of panic mode at all.”
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