Ionescu suffered the left ankle injury when she stepped on the foot of Dream guard Betnijah Laney while crossing halfcourt in the second quarter. She did not return to the game. Head coach Walt Hopkins told reporters after the game that she suffered an ankle sprain and was still being evaluated for further damage.
“Hopefully it’s not serious,” Hopkins said.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania later reported that X-rays on her ankle came back negative.
On Saturday, Ionescu was diagnosed with a grade 3 sprain. ESPN’s Holly Rowe reports that she will work over the next few days to reduce swelling. Her prognosis remains unclear.
Ionescu just rolled her ankle pretty hard pic.twitter.com/Ibb0ZTHi2Z— CJ Fogler #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) July 31, 2020
Atlanta won the game, 84-78.
Ionescu was off to hot WNBA start
Friday was just the third career WNBA game for Ionescu, whom the Liberty selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft. Ionescu joined the WNBA this season as one of the brightest prospects in the history of the league after a standout career at Oregon.
Ionescu became the first player in NCAA history to record 2,000 points, 1,000 assists and 1,000 rebounds and is the sport’s all-time leader among NCAA men and women with 26 career triple-doubles.
After a 12-point effort in her WNBA debut last week, Ionescu exploded for 33 points, seven rebounds and seven assists on Wednesday in a loss to the Dallas Wings.
Already one of the biggest stars in the league, any extended absence would be a significant blow for the Liberty and the WNBA as they conduct their season at the IMG Academy in Central Florida.
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