As the 2020 WNBA season starts on the 24th July, in the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The league starts with a 22 game season. But, the Los Angeles Sparks will miss forward Chiney Ogwumike and guard Kristi Toliver as they opt to sit out the 2020 season due to health reasons.
Chiney Ogwumike was the first pick from Stanford in the 2014 WNBA draft. She was picked by the Connecticut Sun. She was traded to the LA Sparks before the last season. Chiney’s elder sister, Neka also plays for the Sparks. Chiney in a twitter post said she will be sitting out this season for health reasons. She has had knee and Achilles injuries which led her to miss the 2015 and 2017 seasons.
“If you know me, you know that I have overcome some of the biggest challenges an athlete can face on the court,” Chiney said in a statement released by the team. “My previous injuries have given me strength and built character, but unfortunately they require me to be careful with my preparation leading up to a season.”
Chiney also works with ESPN and is the vice president of the WNBA executive committee. She wants to use her various platforms to empower and elevate her teammates and fellow players.
— Chiney Ogwumike (@chiney) June 27, 2020
Kristi Toliver came to the Sparks after her championship with the Washington Liberty last season. She signed a three-year deal with the Sparks as a free agent. Kristi was the 3rd pick in the 2009 draft and was picked up Chicago Sky. She was traded to the Sparks just one year after her first season. She also won a championship with the Sparks in 2016.
“Though I want very much to compete with my team, to be a leader and show up for them, I am not comfortable with the risk to my physical health — short term and long term — given the many unknowns of COVID-19 and the risk of injury,” Toliver said in a statement. “For me, the right decision under the circumstances is to opt-out for the year.”
Kristi Toliver is also an assistant coach with the Washington Wizards and the Wizards are a team which will be playing in the Disney Bubble from the 31st July. So it is not sure if she would be going with the team to Orlando.