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.
According to ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel, Thibault said that the 2019 WNBA MVP’s availability for Game 3 will be know during a status update on Saturday.
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.”
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