Sabrina Ionescu #20 of the Liberty looks on from the...

Sabrina Ionescu #20 of the Liberty looks on from the sideline during the second half of a game against the Dallas Wings at Feld Entertainment Center on July 29, 2020 in Palmetto, Florida.  Credit: Getty Images/Julio Aguilar

Liberty rookie Sabrina Ionescu has a Grade 3 left ankle sprain according to the team.

Ionescu, the top overall pick in the WNBA draft, injured her ankle in the second quarter against Atlanta and did not return to action in the Liberty’s 84-78 loss to the Dream on Friday night. X-rays taken at a hospital came back negative, but the MRI revealed the sprain.

A Grade 3 sprain is the most severe and usually requires months to heal fully as it’s a full tear of the ankle ligament. This level of sprain causes severe pain, swelling and bruising. A group of doctors have been attending to the injury. They are trying to get the swelling to decrease and increase her range of motion, according to the Liberty.

Ionescu was bringing the ball upcourt and rolled her left ankle when she got tangled up with Atlanta’s Betnijah Laney with about five minutes left in the opening half. She finished with 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting.

The Liberty are short-handed at guard already with Kia Nurse sidelined with a sprained left ankle she suffered in the team’s opener. Asia Durr, the No. 2 pick last year, is out for the season on a medical exemption after contracting the coronavirus. The Liberty are 0-3 on the season and will play again Sunday against Phoenix.

“We’re going to have to huddle up and talk about it,” Liberty coach Walt Hopkins said after the loss. “There’s not a lot of ready-to-go options hanging around. See if we can get Kia right.“

The WNBA had set up a “clean corridor” according to league commissioner Cathy Engelbert. That way players who needed an X-ray or an MRI could go to a hospital to receive care without having to go back into quarantine when they returned to IMG Academy.



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