The defending champion Washington Mystics expected to be without MVP Elena Delle Donne, but now that is up in the air. The Mystics star opted out due to medical concerns, but the WNBA’s panel of physicians has denied her request.
Delle Donne has been treated for Lyme disease since 2008, and said her personal physician advised her that she is “at high risk for contracting and having complications from COVID-19.” The WNBA doctors disagreed because Lyme disease is not on the CDC’s list of underlying conditions that could put someone at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, according to ESPN.
Delle Donne is now stuck with a tough choice. If she had met the panel’s medical threshold, she could still receive her full salary. By not clearing that threshold, she is still allowed to opt out, but she would not receive her salary.
Delle Donne released a statement to ESPN about the panel decision.
“The independent panel of doctors the league appointed to review high-risk cases have advised that I’m not high risk, and should be permitted to play in the bubble,” Delle Donne said in a statement released to ESPN Monday.
“I love my team, and we had an unbelievable season last year, and I want to play! But the question is whether or not the WNBA bubble is safe for me. My personal physician who has treated me for Lyme disease for years advised me that I’m at high risk for contracting and having complications from COVID-19,” Delle Donne added in her statement.
“I’m thinking things over, talking to my doctor and my wife, and look forward to sharing what I ultimately plan to do very soon.”