- Erica Blackburn
Washington Mystics star is back practicing after coming back from an injury
Two-time WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne is back practicing with the Washington Mystics after missing almost two years due to back surgeries. Delle Donne, who turns 32 in September, last played in October 2019, when the Mystics won the WNBA Championship.
She practiced five-on-five with Washington, but Donne said that she does not have a date for her return."Truly, it is still day-by-day,” Donne said. “I am doing more and more each day? Yes. Some days, am I doing the same thing I did the day before to see how I can handle this type of load? Yes.”"It's been mentally incredible just to be back with my teammates and competing again," she said. "It's been a really tough process, but I've been able to stay the course and honestly lock in to each day."
The WNBA star entered the league in 2013 as the second-overall draft pick of the Chicago Sky. The Mystics forward won her second MVP award in 2019, making her only the sixth player to win the honor multiple times. That same season, Donne played through three herniated discs in the WNBA Finals to help the Mystics claim the 2019 trophy. She opted out of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic after she was denied a medical exemption by the WNBA.
Donne is the only WNBA member of the 50-40-90 club, after averaging 52 percent shooting from the field, 43 percent from 3 and 97 percent from the free-throw line during the 2019 season.
The Mystics (8-10) are down bodies with Donne still recovering, Myisha Hines-Allen and Emma Meesseman playing overseas and Alysha Clark (foot) out for the season. Erica McCall (knee) and Natasha Cloud (ankle) all missed significant time due to injury as well. The Mystics currently hold the final playoff spot but need to find consistency in the second half of the season.
“The Mystics have always been such an incredible organization and such a family to me,” Donne said. “This is where I will always play my career as long as they want me.”