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Elena Delle Donne, Tina Charles do not travel to WNBA bubble

The defending champion Washington Mystics will be extremely short-handed in the shortened WNBA season.

Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics looks to pass the ball during the game against Tina Charles of the New York Liberty on August 25, 2019 at the St. Elizabeths East Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington, DC. Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

The Washington Mystics are the defending WNBA champions and pre-pandemic were in the top half of odds to win the title in 2020. That is all going by the wayside now. 2019 MVP Elena Delle Donne and offseason trade acquisition Tina Charles are both expected to opt out of the 2020 season.

The Mystics announced on Wednesday the two starts have entered the WNBA player medical evaluation protocol and did not travel with the team to the bubble at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The team will update the media once their statuses are determined.

Plenty could change, but it seems fairly certain both stars will not play in this abbreviated season during the pandemic. This comes after Natasha Cloud and LaToya Sanders both announced plans to sit out the season. This leaves the Mystics without last year’s leading scorer, top two rebounders, top assist person, and top two blockers. Add in Kristi Toliver’s departure, and the defending champs will look nothing like what people expected.