New York Liberty rookie star Sabrina Ionescu caught with the No.1 overall pick in the WNBA Draft rolled her left ankle when she stepped on Atlanta’s Betnijah Laney to bring the ball on Friday and did not come back.
She was then sent to a hospital in the Bradenton, Florida area for x-rays, according to a WNBA spokesperson. A source said she was also due to have an MRI on her ankle.
” I only know [it’s] sprained, and she’s getting checked out right now, ”Liberty coach Walt Hopkins said after his team’s 84-78 loss.
Hopkins added that Liberty chief executive Jonathan Kolb was with Ionescu.
WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert, who is in the league bubble, said on a July 22 conference call that a so-called “clean lane” had been set up in advance in the league. within the protocol for an injury that may require an X-ray or MRI. Thus, a player could go to the hospital for treatment without having to return to quarantine afterwards upon his return to the WNBA campus.
Ionescu was 4 of 5 on the field for 10 points, with an assist and a rebound, before sustaining the injury with 5 minutes, 10 seconds left in the second quarter. Friday marked the third game of her rookie season, and she came off a 33-point, seven-rebound, seven-assist performance in Wednesday’s loss to Dallas.
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James wished him good luck on social media.
Ouch!! @ sabrina_i20 Get healthy ASAP! 🙏🏾. Health is wealth
– LeBron James (@KingJames) July 31, 2020
The Liberty was already without guard Kia Nurse, who sprained her left ankle in New York’s opener on Saturday. She returned to play 22 minutes on Wednesday but was out on Friday.
Rookie goalie Jazmine Jones, who made her first game of the season on Wednesday after recovering from a sprained ankle, had 20 points to lead Liberty, and Layshia Clarendon had 16. Jones, 12th pick in the league. Louisville got the time in point Friday, a post she said she hadn’t played since high school.
With Ionescu and Nurse injured, and Asia Durr sidelined this season with a medical exemption, Liberty’s only other true guards are Jones and Clarendon.
“We’re going to have to snuggle up and talk about it,” Hopkins said. “There aren’t a lot of out-of-the-box options lying around. See if we can make Kia look good, and I hope it’s not serious with Sabrina. ”
Ionescu missed four games his freshman season in Oregon, but played all games as a runner-up, junior and senior for the Ducks. She had a career-high 26 NCAA triple-doubles and was the National Consensus Player of the Year as a senior with an average of 17.5 points, 9.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds.
The Liberty fell to 0-3 and the next game Sunday against Phoenix (1 p.m. ET, ESPN).
Jones, one of Liberty’s seven rookies with Ionescu, said the team had missed her but kept on fighting.
“She does a lot of coaching on the pitch when she plays,” Jones said of Ionescu. “That’s how resilient we are – knowing we could have given up when Sabrina fell, but someone had to intervene. “