Elena Delle Donne exits for ‘precautionary reasons’ in Mystics loss


Mystics star Elena Delle Donne’s early exit from Thursday night’s game was “precautionary,” coach Mike Thibault said after the Dallas Wings handed Washington an 82-77 loss.

In her third game back this season, Delle Donne was pulled after just 12 minutes of play. The 2019 WNBA MVP, who missed 22 months after undergoing a pair of back surgeries, left the game soon after fighting for a rebound at the start of the second quarter.

“She was taken out kind of precautionary. On that play under the basket where she got a couple of attempts, just didn’t feel right to her, took her out,” Thibault said. “We’re at that point right now we’re not risking anything. We’ll see what she’s like tomorrow.”

Delle Donne was not made available to reporters after the game.

Delle Donne has been showing signs of her former self since her return to the court Sunday, when she recorded 16 points and three rebounds in 22 minutes of the Mystics’ eventual loss to the Seattle Storm. Against the Los Angeles Sparks on Tuesday, she finished with 18 points and five rebounds in 18 minutes. After both games, she told reporters she was feeling good physically.

The loss Thursday dropped Washington to 9-14. The Mystics, 10th in the WNBA standings, will be battling for the eighth and final playoff spot over the last three weeks of the regular season. They will be without star center Tina Charles for the next 3-5 games after she strained her left glute.

The Mystics host the Wings again on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET.