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WNBA: Mystics F Elena Delle Donne close to long-awaited return

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Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne has returned to practice following multiple back surgeries and is close to taking the court again for the first time in two years.

The two-time WNBA MVP has not played since leading the Mystics to the 2019 championship. She had back surgery in both January and December of 2020, while also opting out of the 2020 season, which was played entirely at Bradenton, Fla.

Delle Donne, 31, is participating in full-court practices with the team, although there was no specific date given on when she would take the court again. The Mystics open the second half of the 2021 season on the road Sunday against the Las Vegas Aces.

“Truly, it is still day-by-day,” Delle Donne said. “Am I doing more and more each day? Yes. Some days, am I doing the same thing I did the day before to see how I can handle this type of load? Yes.”

A six-time All-Star, Delle Donne has averaged 20.3 points and 7.0 rebounds over seven seasons for the Chicago Sky (2013-16) and Mystics (2017-19). She averaged 19.5 points and 8.2 rebounds in her most recent season, when she played with herniated discs in her back.

–Field Level Media

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