UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Elena Delle Donne will miss the WNBA All-Star game on Saturday while recovering from a concussion.
The No. 2 pick in the 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 the All-Star voting and will be replaced on the Eastern Conference roster by Atlanta’s Erika de Souza.
Top draft pick Brittney Griner won’t play but will attend the league’s showcase game this weekend at Mohegan Sun Arena. Griner is still recovering from a sprained left knee and was replaced on the roster by veteran Tina Thompson on Thursday.
A former star at Delaware, Delle Donne helped guide Chicago to first place in the Eastern Conference, and the Sky are looking to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
Had Delle Donne and Griner both played, it would have been the first time in league history that two rookies from the same class started an All-Star game. Sue Bird and Catchings started in 2002. Catchings missed her entire 2001 rookie season because of a knee injury.
Griner, Delle Donne and fellow rookie Skylar Diggins have already provided a boost to the league, increasing ratings, attendance and merchandise sales. TV household ratings have doubled on ESPN2 compared to last season, and the game pitting Griner against Delle Donne drew the league’s highest regular-season ratings in nine years.
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