There could soon be a new passing of the baton as the WNBA's ultimate warrior. The Connecticut Sun's Alyssa Thomas is doing superhuman things to battle through injury as her team marches through the playoffs.
The seven-year veteran left Game 2 of the WNBA Semifinals against the top-seeded Las Vegas Aces with a painful shoulder injury. Only having their second-best player on the court for five minutes, the Sun dropped their first game of the playoffs.
It was later revealed that the forward had dislocated her shoulder on the play below.
Getting the shoulder back into the socket was so painful her screams could be heard by other WNBA teams in the locker room area.
Thomas, who has previously torn both of her labrums in her shoulders before this season, made a shocking return for Game 3 of the series just two days after the injury. She was originally designated as out for the contest, but that status shifted to questionable hours before the tip. Then, she was announced, remarkably, as a starter.
Not only did she just return, she dominated.
The Maryland product scored a game-high 23 points on 47.6% shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds for a double-double. She only stepped off the court for one minute and 14 seconds of in-game action.
It was a performance so remarkable that it reminded Mystics assistant coach Eric Thibault of Elena Delle Donne's gutting effort through the 2018 and 2019 WNBA playoffs.
Back in the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals, Delle Donne suffered a gruesome knee injury that sidelined her for one game. Through a heroic effort, she returned, finished the series and eventually powered through the pain in the WNBA Finals. To this day, she still wears a knee brace when playing.
Then last year, Delle Donne suffered from having three herniated discs in her back in the WNBA Finals. Again, she powered through the pain and averaged 15 points in the three following games of the series en route to the championship. That injury forced her to have offseason back surgery and eventually caused her to miss all of 2020.
Through all of that, the unofficial warrior title belonged to Delle Donne. But, after what Thomas is doing for the Sun—and leading the WNBA Semifinals series over the No. 1 seed 2-1—it may be time to give the honor to her.