Elena Delle Donne has proven her grit and fortitude in this year's WNBA Playoffs. It was not until after the champion was crowned that she divulged the extent of the pain she was dealing with.
Back in Game 2 of the WNBA Semifinals against the Atlanta Dream, Delle Donne had to leave the contest because of a grotesque injury to her knee. A bone bruise was the initial diagnosis on the former WNBA MVP, surprising considering how nasty the fall looked.
It was not until after the Washington Mystics lost to the Seattle Storm in the WNBA Finals that Delle Donne revealed what she had to go through.
"It was different. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to practice a lot," said Delle Donne. "I was trying to figure out my go-to moves as games were going on. Just trying to get comfortable finding different ways. I'm a very left-footed player. I like to push off one leg. Floaters, stepbacks and all that off my left leg. Just trying to find a different way to get it done. But I felt more and more comfortable as we went on."
She only missed one game because of the injury and that was Game 3 in the WNBA Semifinals. Facing elimination, Delle Donne returned for the Mystics in Game 4 and in the winner-take-all Game 5.
While her impact was significant being back on the court, her production was clearly not the same post-injury. Mustering all she could with a brace-turned-sleeve, one of the most dominant players in the WNBA was held back.
Prior to the fall, she averaged 26 points, 13 rebounds, and four assists a game during the playoffs, right on pace with her season averages.
Afterwards it dipped to 16 points, seven rebounds, two assists.
In the final game of the Finals, she actually played her best all-around game since the injury with 23 points on 9-for-18 shooting. Adding in five rebounds and four assists, she still was able to contribute in all areas of the court.
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