Washington's Delle Donne denied medical exemption from WNBA season


Posted at Jul 14 2020 04:30 PM

Elena Delle Donne during the 2018 FIBA Women's World Cup. File photo. FIBA Media

Two-time WNBA Most Valuable Player Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics has been denied a medical waiver from the league's 2020 season, ESPN reported.

Delle Donne, who was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2008, sought to opt out of the season due to medical concerns, but her request was denied.

According to ESPN, players who have a medical reason to opt out will still receive their full salary for the season. Those who don't receive a medical waiver can still opt out of the season, but will not get paid.

The WNBA and the WNBA Players Association had put together a panel of three doctors "to advise the (league) on whether a player can be medically excused for the season."

In a statement to ESPN, Delle Donne said the panel of doctors advised that she is "not high risk, and should be permitted to play in the bubble." The forward maintained that she wants to play, especially as the Mystics are defending WNBA champions.

"But the question is whether or not the WNBA bubble is safe for me," the 30-year-old Delle Donne said. "My personal physician who has treated me for Lyme disease for years advised me that I'm at high risk for contracting and having complications for COVID-19."

Delle Donne will consult with her doctor and her wife before making a decision on her plans. Her agent, Erin Kane, told ESPN that Delle Donne may still opt out.

"Like a lot of people, she's making a choice between what's best for her from a health standpoint and what's best for her from a financial standpoint for her and her family," Kane said.

The WNBA season will start on July 25, with the Mystics opening their title defense against the Indiana Fever. The entire season will take place at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, in order to minimize the risk of COVID-19. 

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