For the first time in weeks, the Storm’s injury report for its game Tuesday against Minnesota in Game 1 of the WNBA semifinals didn’t include any injuries.
However, Seattle noted: additional team COVID-19 testing results pending.
The uncertainty regarding multiple inconclusive test results postponed the start of the best-of-five series, which was scheduled to begin Sunday and clouds the future of the postseason for both teams.
Storm players were quarantined and re-tested Monday.
WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert expressed a desire to begin the series Tuesday and Game 1 is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on ESPN2, but the start of the semifinals is subject to change, a league source said.
“We want to make sure we have all the data and testing if someone is affected by COVID,” Engelbert said during a televised interview Sunday with ESPN’s Holly Rowe. “We can isolate them and take care of their safety. Hopefully we’ll get good data over the next 24 to 48 hours.
“Hopefully get back on the court for Game 1 on Tuesday.”
The delay to the semifinals is the WNBA’s first disruption due to the coronavirus since the start of the season July 25.
All games are played at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, and everyone inside the bubble is tested every day for the coronavirus.
The league has not reported any positive tests, but there had been three inconclusive tests from Las Vegas’ Lindsay Allen, Los Angeles’ T’ea Cooper and Dallas’ Tyasha Harris. Each missed a game while waiting to be retested before ultimately testing negative and returning to play.
“This is the hardest part of COVID-19 and putting on live sports during it,” Engelbert said. “Every day you’re reset to zero. So the fact that we might have had 70 negative tests doesn’t actually matter. It’s about keeping the bubble safe and making sure that there’s no community spread.
“The purpose of the testing program and the protocols that we have is to be able to pull anybody out who is positive COVID before they are infectious.”
It’s uncertain how the delayed start will impact the series.
No. 2 seed Seattle entered the postseason as a heavy favorite against No. 4 Minnesota, which beat No. 5 Phoenix 80-79 in Thursday’s second round.
The Storm has won six straight games against the Lynx, including a two-game sweep of the regular-season series by an average of 19.5 points.
Seattle won the 90-66 in the first meeting on July 28 and claimed a 103-88 victory in the Sept. 6 rematch.
The Storm, which received a double bye to the semis and hasn’t played since Sept. 13, would have a nine-day layoff if the series begins Tuesday.