New York Liberty draftee Nyara Sabally will not play in 2022. Sabally was the fifth overall pick by the Liberty out of Oregon.

According to Liberty general manager Jonathan Kolb, the team knew heading into the draft that there was “a very strong chance” that Sabally would not play in the upcoming season “because of her current health condition.”

“We now know that’s now the case,” he said. “She will get healthy and roll with us in 2023.”

Sabally has torn her right ACL twice, first in 2018 and then again ahead of the 2019-20 season. Many analysts had eyed her health as a concern ahead of the draft. During the 2021-22 season, she missed eight games due to injury.

“Nyara is loaded with talent,” said ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo ahead of the draft. “The biggest question is her health. I think people are questioning how healthy she is. I think that’s going to be a big factor in terms of where she’s taken, but she’s certainly skilled. She’s got the size, she’s got the skill, she can face up, head out to three, she’s got the moves inside.

“Needs to finish a little bit better but can get there. Certainly loaded with talent. I think the only thing that might hold her back a little bit is the question in terms of her injury.”

During Friday’s media call, Kolb said that player health is “paramount.”

“We want to be really careful in developing players not just in their skillset, but in their bodies,” he said.

The loss of Sabally leaves the Liberty down one player and tight on cap space.

But, according to The Next’s Jackie Powell, Han Xu – a 6-foot-9 center from China and one of the tallest players in league history – has reported to Liberty training camp. Han last played in the WNBA in 2019 under then-Liberty head coach Katie Smith. Drafted 14th overall by the team in 2019, she hasn’t yet played a full WNBA season.

Through 18 games in 2019, she averaged 3.0 points in 7.9 minutes.