all scores

WNBA injuries: Dream’s Aari McDonald out with torn labrum

Aari McDonald is expected to miss up to four weeks with a torn labrum. (Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images)

Even just a few weeks into the 2023 WNBA season, teams are dealing with a number of injuries. The latest athlete to land on the injured list is Atlanta Dream guard Aari McDonald.

Just Women’s Sports is keeping tabs on the most notable injuries and, where possible, providing the timetable for the player’s return. This report also includes athletes who are missing the 2023 WNBA season due to pregnancy or maternity leave.

Injured WNBA players who could return this season

Diamond DeShields, Dallas Wings

DeShields will miss significant time this season with a knee injury, the Wings announced on May 17. She informed her teammates the previous day at practice, reportedly telling them “not to take [playing] for granted. Not to take walking for granted. Now is your time.”

While the 28-year-old guard appeared in a May 5 preseason game against Chicago, she did not travel for the team’s second preseason game out of precaution due to knee soreness. It’s unclear when she could make a return this season.

Rebekah Gardner, Chicago Sky

Gardner is out indefinitely after undergoing foot surgery, the Chicago Sky announced on June 1. Gardner sustained the break in her foot during a less to the Washington Mystics on May 26.

Izzy Harrison, Chicago Sky

The 29-year-old forward will miss “extended time this season” with a knee injury, the Sky announced on May 18.

On May 23, the team provided further details, revealing that Harrison will be out indefinitely after having surgery to repair a torn left meniscus. Harrison, who signed as a free agent with Chicago in February, has played six seasons in the WNBA.

Aari McDonald, Atlanta Dream

The 24-year-old guard tore her labrum against the Las Vegas Aces on June 2, the Dream announced on June 6. An MRI confirmed the injury later in the week. The team expects her to miss three to four weeks.

Diamond Miller, Minnesota Lynx

Miller is out indefinitely, the Minnesota Lynx announced on June 2. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft sprained her right ankle during Minnesota’s loss to the Dallas Wings on May 30. In a statement, the Lynx said Miller will “be reevaluated in the following weeks and further updates will be issued when available.”

Lou Lopez Sénéchal, Dallas Wings

The former UConn star will undergo knee surgery during the first week of the season and will miss six to eight weeks of action as a result, the Wings announced on May 17. The 25-year-old wing was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2023 draft.

Injured WNBA players out for the season

Li Yueru, Chicago Sky

Li will miss the season with a non-WNBA injury, the Sky announced on May 18. She played for Chicago last season but missed the postseason to prepare for the 2022 World Cup with the Chinese national team.

Stephanie Talbot, Los Angeles Sparks

The 28-year-old forward signed with the Sparks in the offseason but tore her Achilles while playing for the Adelaide Lightning in Australia in February.

WNBA players out due to pregnancy or childbirth

Skylar Diggins-Smith, Phoenix Mercury

Diggins-Smith is out on maternity leave after giving birth to her second child during the WNBA offseason and her return timeline is unclear.

“I’m not really worried about snapping back,” she recently told Essence. “I just want to enjoy this time with my daughter.”

Ruthy Hebard, Chicago Sky

Hebard gave birth to her son, Xzavier Reid, in April. The Chicago Sky forward says she is eager to get back to competition, but her return date is currently unclear.

Natalie Achonwa, Minnesota Lynx

Achonwa gave birth to her first child, son Maverick, in April and is expected to miss all or most of the 2023 WNBA season.

Achonwa, a member of the WNBA players’ union executive committee, helped negotiate for many of the pregnancy protections and maternity benefits that were included in the league’s 2020 collective bargaining agreement.

“Previously if you were out on maternity leave you’d get fifty per cent of your base salary,” Achonwa told SportsNet.

“I will receive my full salary this year whether I’m able to make it back or not — so pending clearance from doctors and trainers and stuff like that to see if I will make it back by the end of the year — but knowing that my family will be taken care of financially while I’m out on maternity leave was huge.”

Katie Lou Samuelson, Los Angeles Sparks

Samuelson is pregnant with her first child, which will keep her out of the 2023 season. The 25-year-old forward averaged 9.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 29.5 minutes per game in 2022.

“Life is full of surprises and 2023 surprised us in the best way possible!” she wrote in a social media announcement of her pregnancy. “We can’t wait to welcome the newest member of our family!”

Emma Hruby and Alex Azzi contributed to this report.