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Elena Delle Donne returns to the court in Mystics loss

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Elena Delle Donne took the court for the first time since winning a WNBA Championship and the MVP award in 2019, showing signs of her old self in Washington’s 85-78 loss to the Seattle Storm. The Washington Mystics star had been sidelined for nearly two years after undergoing two back surgeries.

Delle Donne drained her first shot of the game early in the first quarter, and the home fans inside the Entertainment and Sports Arena erupted in cheers. She said after the game it was a move she’s been working on “in the weight room.”

“It definitely felt great, especially for the first shot to go in,” Delle Donne said on the ESPN broadcast. “It was something I needed to see.”

Delle Donne finished with 16 points and three rebounds in the game, keeping the Mystics close against the Storm, who returned all of their Olympic stars over the weekend.

Despite Delle Donne’s triumphant return, Seattle pulled out the win behind Breanna Stewart’s 20 points and 12 rebounds.

After the game, Delle Donne told ESPN’s Holly Rowe she was “super nervous.”

“I had that first day of school, butterfly feeling,” she said. “It’s been quite a journey, and it’s still a day-to-day thing. I’m honored that I was able to get out here and compete with my team.”

Delle Donne said she’ll continue to manage her health.

“We’ll see after the adrenaline wears off how I’m doing and get ready for the next one,” she said.

Next up: The Mystics have a quick turnaround, with a matchup against the Los Angeles Sparks on Tuesday. Seattle will also take the court on Tuesday against the Minnesota Lynx.