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Sabrina Ionescu undergoes minor ankle surgery performed by Dr. Martin O’Malley

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Phoenix Mercury v New York Liberty Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu underwent a minor ankle procedure Monday, performed Dr. Martin O’ Malley at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. O’Malley is the ankle and foot specialist for the Liberty and Nets.

The ‘ minimally-invasive’ procedure, as the team phrased it, removed calcified scar tissue to eliminate tendon irritation behind Ionescu’s ankle. O’ Malley described the procedure and noted there was no need for an ankle ligament stabilization, a more complicated surgery. He said he expects a complete recovery. According to the team, Ionescu is expected to be cleared soon by Liberty’s medical staff to return to physical activity. No word on the specifics.

“She had a minor ankle procedure to remove a loose bone chip that was irritating a tendon behind her ankle,” said Dr. O’Malley. “This chip that occurred during her sprain in July did not involve the ankle joint cartilage surface and we expect a complete recovery. The ligaments she tore during her injury have all completely healed and there was no need for an ankle ligament stabilization procedure.”

Ionescu suffered a Grade 3 sprain to her left ankle in the second quarter of the Liberty’s game against the Atlanta Dream on July 31. The injury eventually concluded her rookie season as she finished the season playing in three games.

At the time of the injury, the Liberty feared that major surgery would be required, but after consultation, it was determined that rehab, rather than surgery, would be all that would be needed.

O’ Malley is best known for his ankle procedures across all sports. He has twice performed surgery on both Caris LeVert and Kevin Durant. He repaired KD’s ankle in 2015 and his Achilles tendon in 2019.

Ionescu had eyeing an opportunity to play overseas during the WNBA offseason, which is common among women’s professional basketball players. With the news of her ankle procedure. That now seems doubtful.

Following the procedure, Ionescu stated she is looking forward to getting back on the WNBA court.

“With the long offseason, I am committed to returning in 2021 fully prepared to rejoin my team and jumpstart my WNBA career,” Ionescu said. “My rehab has been going very well and I look forward to getting back on the court.”

In those three games, Ionescu posted averages of 18.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 0.7 steals in 26.7 minutes per game.