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WNBA’s leading rebounder, blocker Jonquel Jones to skip 2020 bubble season

The Connecticut Sun are going to be short-handed in a big way for the upcoming WNBA season.

Jonquel Jones of the Connecticut Sun shoots the ball against the Washington Mystics in Game 5 of the 2019 WNBA Finals at St Elizabeths East Entertainment & Sports Arena on October 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

The WNBA announced plans last week to start its 2020 season in late July at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The league is providing players the right to skip the season, and the league’s leading rebounder is planning on utilizing that option.

The Connecticut Sun announced on Monday that Jonquel Jones is opting out of the 2020 season, per reporter Charlotte Carroll. The team expressed support for her decision, and Jones released the following statement:

“After careful thought and consideration I’ve decided to forego the upcoming WNBA season and use this time to focus on personal, social, and familial growth,” said Jones. “This was one of the toughest decisions I’ve made but the resurgence and unknown aspects of COVID -19 have raised serious health concerns that I do not feel comfortable competing in. I’d like to thank the Connecticut Sun organization, my teammates and fans for their unwavering support and understanding. While I won’t be competing this year I’m looking forward to lacing up with my teammates in 2021 and continuing the pursuit for a WNBA championship. Wishing the entire league and everyone involved a healthy and enjoyable season. Go Sun!”

Last season, Jones averaged 9.7 rebounds per game to lead the league. She average 2.0 blocks per game, which was tied with Brittney Griner atop the league. Jones also averaged a Sun-leading 14.6 points per game and was named to the WNBA’s All-Defensive Team.

The Sun were among the favorites to take home the championship this season. DraftKings Sportsbook installed the Sun at 6/1 prior to the 2020 WNBA Draft, on the back of adding DeWanna Bonner and Briann January. Connecticut won’t be the only team to have players opt out of the 2020 season, but losing its leading scorer and rebounder is a huge blow for the Sun’s championship hopes.