UNCASVILLE, Conn. – High-profile rookie Elena Delle Donne will miss the WNBA All-Star Game on Saturday while recovering from a concussion.
The No. 2 pick in this year’s draft was injured in the Chicago Sky’s loss to Washington on Wednesday when she was going for a loose ball with a minute left in the third quarter.
“It’s unfortunate that I am unable to be a part of All-Star weekend,” Delle Donne said. “I was very excited to join the other players for a memorable experience. It’s upsetting not only for me but also for the fans who voted for me. The most important thing for me at this time is to rest and recover for the second half of the season.”
Delle Donne, who is averaging 18.2 points a game, is the first rookie to lead All-Star voting and will be replaced on the Eastern Conference roster by Atlanta’s Erika de Souza.
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Top draft pick Brittney Griner won’t play but will attend the league’s showcase game at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Phoenix Mercury center Griner of Baylor is recovering from a sprained left knee and was replaced on the West roster Thursday by Tina Thompson of the Storm.
A former standout at Delaware, Delle Donne has led Chicago (12-5) to first place in the East.
Had Delle Donne and Griner both played, it would have been the first time in league history two rookies from the same class started an All-Star Game.
Griner, Delle Donne and fellow rookie Skylar Diggins of Notre Dame have already provided a boost to the league, helping to increase ratings, attendance and merchandise sales.
TV household ratings for ESPN2 games have doubled compared with last season.