2023 WNBA Key Injuries and Absences

May 15th 2023

John Raudebaugh

With the season fast approaching, there are a number of players either in question for the season opener or expected to miss extended time. Here are the most notable injuries and absences we're monitoring with the latest details on expected timetables for return.

Courtney Vandersloot (concussion) - NYL

Questionable. Vandersloot returned to practice on May 17. She suffered a concussion on the second day of training camp during a live-action workout and has been sidelined since. The Liberty’s "Big 3" did not log a single minute together during the preseason as a result, but the starting five finally got work in two days ahead of the season opener at the Mystics.

Isabelle Harrison (undisclosed) - CHI

Out at least two games. The Sky announced on May 17 that Harrison will not travel for the team's first two games in Minneapolis and Phoenix. Coach James Wade would not disclose any details on the injury, just that Harrison did not practice and updates will be provided when able.

Elizabeth Williams (concussion) - CHI

Available. Williams cleared concussion protocol and will be available to play in Friday's season opener. Head coach James Wade indicated she won't have a minutes limit.

Jasmine Thomas (ACL recovery) - LAS

Out, no timetable for return. At the team’s media day on May 4, coach Curt Miller stated that Thomas had "met all of her markers in return from ACL injury and has been participating in practice." She was listed out in the team's final scrimmage against the Storm on May 14. The Sparks have utilized guards Jordin Canada, Lexie Brown, and Layshia Clarendon in the starting lineup this preseason. On May 17, Miller's comments on Thomas were vague and mentioned being patient with her recovery, but gave no update on a timeline.

Skylar Diggins-Smith (maternity leave) - PHO

Out, no timetable for return. The six-time All-Star guard announced her pregnancy in October and recently gave birth. There has been speculation that her future with the team is unclear at best. Diggins-Smith averaged 34 minutes per game in 30 games for the Mercury last season. On May 17, head coach Vanessa Nygaard said they are taking the situation as day-to-day and will use a replacement player for her. The team is clearly set on beginning the season with a starting backcourt of Moriah Jefferson and Diana Taurasi.

Marine Johannès (overseas commitment) - NYL

Questionable for season opener. Johannès remains overseas for French League postseason play. She plans to be available for the Liberty after that season is completed -- the latest date that would be is May 22.

Myisha Hines-Allen (knee) - WAS

Doubtful. Hines-Allen is fully participating in practice, but the team is being cautious with her return and conditioning. Coach Eric Thibault said there is no timeframe for her return and that she is likely out for the season opener against the Liberty on May 19. It was reported on May 17 that Hines-Allen has been driving, finishing at the rim at practice on multiple occasions, but did not comment on or upgrade her status.

Natalie Achonwa (maternity leave) - MIN

Out, no timetable for return. Achonwa recently gave birth and has no timetable to return to team activities. It is likely that she misses the 2023-24 season. The team's final roster count will be at 12 including Achonwa. The Lynx plan to stagger Napheesa Collier at the center position behind Jessica Shepard, while Damiris Dantas, Nikolina Milic, and rookie Dorka Juhász round out the second-unit frontcourt rotation.

Shey Peddy (Achilles) - PHO

Questionable for season opener. Peddy tore her Achilles in October and stated in March that she was targeting the season opener to return. There’s been no word on how much, if any, she has been practicing; however, she did not play any minutes in either of the Mercury’s preseason games. The team added Evina Westbrook off waivers to shore up their backcourt depth.

Ruthy Hebard (maternity) - CHI

Out, no timetable for return. Hebard gave birth last month and has been with the team doing conditioning work, but there is no timetable currently for when she will resume basketball activities. Alanna Smith is the biggest beneficiary during her absence while rookie Morgan Bertsch will get opportunities for rotation minutes in the frontcourt as well.

Iliana Rupert (overseas commitment) - ATL

Questionable, uncertain for season opener. Teammates Rhyne Howard and Cheyenne Parker have returned from their overseas commitments in Italy, but Rupert remains in France with no clear reporting on a timeline for when and if she will report for the Dream this season. Her absence bodes well for minutes - and roster spots - to be available for Lorela Cubaj and first-round pick Laeticia Amihere.

Lou Lopez Sénéchal (knee) - DAL

Out, no timetable for return. The Wings announced that the 5th overall pick will undergo knee surgery and is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks. Lopez Sénéchal suffered the injury in March during the NCAA tournament. Maddy Siegrist will be the biggest beneficiary of rotation minutes.

Li Yueru (leg) - CHI

Out, multiple weeks away from return. It was reported on May 2 that Yueru had a "third-degree tear of the posterior cruciate ligament that required a ten-week rest." The 6'7" center would have likely been the favorite to be the backup center on the Sky going into the regular season.