Delle Donne, a leading candidate for WNBA MVP, has yet to play in Seattle because of injuries or illness. The league’s leading scorer is a game-time decision with a sprained left ankle.
Some think coffee when Seattle is mentioned. Elena Delle Donne has a different word association.
“It’s like the curse,” she said.
Since being drafted by Chicago with the No. 2 overall pick in 2013, KeyArena is the one court in the league where Delle Donne has yet to play.
The Rookie of the Year missed her first matchup in Seattle due to a foot sprain. Delle Donne was scratched from the Sky’s lineup last season due to a reoccurrence of Lyme disease.
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And Friday? Delle Donne, the WNBA’s leading scorer (24.3 points per game), is a game-time decision to play the Storm at KeyArena due to a sprained left ankle.
She suffered the injury Sunday. Delle Donne did not play in Chicago’s loss at New York on Tuesday but participated in a full practice in Seattle on Thursday.
“So we’re going to see how I respond,” Delle Donne said afterward. “Ankle sprains, they hurt. As long as I’m not in too much pain and I’m not favoring it, I’ll be OK to go.”
Seattle (6-18) might prefer Delle Donne doesn’t play. When she suffered the injury in the opening half against Phoenix, she returned to score 16 of her 33 points in the third quarter of a 74-64 win.
If able to play, Delle Donne will remind KeyArena fans of a player many have yearned to see since 2012 – Lauren Jackson. The 6-foot-6 Australian has missed the past three seasons due to knee and hamstring injuries.
“Before I entered the league, that was a comparison I heard a lot,” said Delle Donne of Jackson, a three-time MVP.
Delle Donne is the presumed leader for this season’s MVP award. But as of Thursday, her focus was getting healthy and stringing together wins for Chicago (14-10).