Citing a protracted struggle with the coronavirus since testing positive almost a month ago, New York Liberty guard Asia Durr will not participate in the upcoming WNBA season.
The Liberty announced Tuesday that the former No. 2 overall pick would miss the 2020 season, which is being played in its entirety at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The second-year guard subsequently explained in a Twitter post that she was diagnosed with COVID-19 on June 8 and has endured a "complicated and arduous" recovery process.
"As I continue to fight to fully recover, I had to make the difficult decision on a deadline to opt out as a medical High Risk player," Durr wrote. "So much about this virus is unknown and my heart is heavy, even as I make the decision that I know is best for my long term wellness."
She also said she intended to continue supporting her teammates' "efforts around social justice and activism" from afar.
Players had until June 25 to inform the league whether or not they would participate in the season, which will run through October and encompass 22 regular-season games before the playoffs, although players seeking to opt out for medical reasons were given additional time to resolve those requests.
Durr joins a growing list of high-profile players who will not participate for reasons which run the gamut from health concerns to a desire to focus on social advocacy.
The all-time leading scorer at the University of Louisville, Durr averaged 9.7 points per game as a rookie for the Liberty but missed 16 games with a groin injury as the team finished with the second-worst record in the league. Durr also underwent hip surgery in September.
Even entering just her second year, Durr would have lent an experienced hand on a roster that currently includes seven rookies and doesn't include former league MVP Tina Charles, whom the team traded to Washington earlier this year. The Liberty now must wait until 2021 to see how a backcourt with Durr and Sabrina Ionescu, this year's No. 1 overall pick, looks on the court.
"Asia worked extremely hard this offseason to put herself in position to take a major leap forward in her second WNBA season," Liberty general manager Jonathan Kolb said. "While we are disappointed that we will need to wait a bit longer to see her emerge as one of the bright young players in the game, we fully recognize and support the difficult decision she had to make amidst unprecedented circumstances."