Sabrina Ionescu's rookie season could be over just as it was getting started.
The No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft was diagnosed with a Grade 3 left ankle sprain after getting hurt in the second quarter against Atlanta and did not return to action in the New York Liberty’s 84-78 loss to the Dream on Friday night.
X-rays taken at a hospital came back negative, but an MRI revealed the sprain according to the team. A Grade 3 sprain is the most severe and usually requires months to heal fully as it's a full tear of the ankle ligament. This level of sprain causes severe pain, swelling and bruising.
A group of doctors have been attending to the injury. They are trying to get the swelling to decrease and increase her range of motion, according to the Liberty.
Ionescu was bringing the ball up court and rolled her left ankle when she got tangled up with Atlanta's Betnijah Laney with about five minutes left in the opening half. She finished with 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting.
LeBron James tweeted out after seeing the injury his well wishes to Ionescu to get healthy. Ionescu said in her diary for The Associated Press that James, among other NBA players, had reached out to her after her first game of the season.
Ionescu played in only 2 1/2 games this season and might be hard-pressed to return with the WNBA playing a truncated season with only 19 games left over the next 6 weeks.
New York is short-handed at guard already with Kia Nurse sidelined with a sprained left ankle she suffered in the team's opener. Asia Durr, the No. 2 pick last year, is out for the season on a medical exemption after contracting the coronavirus.