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Sabrina Ionescu out for month with severe ankle sprain

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New York Liberty v Atlanta Dream Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

The good news is that after being x-rayed at a Bradentown hospital, Sabrina Ionescu did not fracture her ankle in a fall during Friday night’s Liberty game. Nor will the sprain require a “surgical solution.” The bad news is that the overall No. 1 pick in the WNBA Draft and budding franchise player will be out for a month. That means Ionescu will likely miss a dozen or more games ... with only 19 left to play in the pandemic-shortened “wubble” season.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Holly Rowe of ESPN tweeted out the bad news Saturday afternoon.

Joe Tsai promised that Ionescu would receive the “best care.”

Here’s more from ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel:

The Liberty said Ionescu was still under review by a team of physicians but that doctors believe the injury will not require surgery. A Grade 3 sprain usually requires months to fully heal. For now Ionescu will work to decrease swelling and increase range of motion over the next few days.

For those of us that are unfamiliar with injuries like this, Jeff Stotts of In Street Clothes discussed grade three sprains back in December 2017 (in the context of then Detroit Pistons guard, Reggie Jackson):

Ligaments are viscoelastic, meaning they provide mobility and stability. However, each ligament of the body has unique yield and failure points. A Grade 3 classification means the structural integrity of the ligament was compromised. Individuals suffering this level of injury usually experiences significant pain and a loss of function and stability. Grade 3 sprains generally require a considerable recovery time and, in some cases, surgery.

Ionescu’s injury came five minutes and 10 seconds left in the second quarter of Friday’s loss to Atlanta when she stepped on the foot of a Dream player. It came two days after she had a statement game in her second WNBA outing. Playing against the Dallas Wings, Ionescu finished with 33 points, seven rebounds and an equal number of assists.

The Liberty are already short two other guards: Asian Durr, the second pick in the 2019 NBA Draft who’s battling COVID-19, and Kia Nurse who also sprained her ankle. Two interantional veterans opted out of playing in the U.S. earlier in the summer: Marine Johannes of France, a guard, and Han Xu of China, a 6’9” big.

The injury is yet the latest piece of brutal luck for Joe Tsai who along with his wife Clara, own the Liberty as well as the Nets.