New York Liberty guard Asia Durr will miss a second WNBA season as she continues to experience long-term effects after contracting COVID-19 nearly 12 months ago.
The Liberty placed Durr, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 draft, on the full-season suspended list and listed it as a personal decision. The designation can't be reversed.
Head coach Walt Hopkins said at the start of training camp late last month that Durr is "still battling so much" and there was a "low probability" of her playing.
Durr, 24, is considered a COVID-19 "long-hauler." In theory, she has recovered from the worst parts of the virus she tested positive for on June 8, 2020, but she still experiences debilitating symptoms months later.
Asia Durr still working back from COVID-19
The former Louisville standout spoke with HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" as part of a longer segment on "long haul" athletes in January.
She described lung pain as "so severe that it felt like somebody took a long knife and was just stabbing you in your lungs each second." She said she lost 32 pounds — 21% of the 5-foot-10 guard's listed weight — and experiences many days when she feels like she got "hit by a bus." Her good days are ones she can muster enough energy to go to the store.
When she spoke with "Real Sports," she said she hadn't picked up a ball.
“It’s really challenging for me," she said on the segment. "But I’ve talked to doctors and they’ve told me I’m not cleared yet. I’m not cleared to be able to do anything physically, which could cause flare-ups [is] what they call it. And that’s what’s really hard for me because in life whenever something was hard I would go and play. I can’t even do that now. I can’t even shoot a free throw.”
In tweets after the show, she reiterated her progress is "slow and incremental," but she wanted to make it back on the court. Durr opted out of the 2020 bubble season that tipped in July 2020 as a medical high-risk player. She said in a statement she had tested positive a month earlier and the battle since had been "complicated and arduous."
Liberty roster heading into Brooklyn opener
Durr averaged 9.7 points on 46.7% shooting in 26.7 minutes per game in her only season in the league. The duo of Durr and 2020 No. 1 overall Sabrina Ionescu was, and remains to be, much anticipated.
Final roster cuts are due by 5 p.m. ET on Thursday, the day ahead of the WNBA's 25th anniversary season tip-off. There are fewer than 144 spots to fill in the 12-team league, so many talented players will not make rosters. More cuts will come in a few weeks as star players continue to return stateside following the conclusion of overseas seasons.
The Liberty temporarily suspended the contracts of Rebecca Allen, Kiah Stokes and Natasha Howard while they are abroad. They also waived Joyner Holmes, the No. 10 overall pick in the 2020 draft, on Thursday.
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