Mystics head coach Mike Thibault says team’s injury situation is the ‘worst in 50 years of coaching’

After their 2020 season was derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Washington Mystics had excessive hopes for a bounce again marketing campaign this summer season. With the anticipated returns of Elena Delle Donne, Tina Charles and Natasha Cloud, in addition to free agent signing Alysha Clark, the crew appeared primed to compete for the title but once more. 

As a substitute, following a 93-75 loss to the Minnesota Lynx on Saturday evening, the Mystics are 10-17 and wouldn’t make the playoffs if the season ended right this moment. They’re solely share factors behind the New York Liberty for the eighth and remaining playoff spot, so they may nonetheless sneak into the postseason, however nonetheless, it is a far cry from what they have been anticipating. 

The primary motive they have not been capable of get something going this season is accidents. In his pregame media convention on Saturday, coach Mike Thibault vented in regards to the unfortunate streak the Mystics have been on over the previous few months. 

“[The injury situation is] the worst in 50 years of teaching,” Thibault said. “This has been the worst I’ve ever been by way of. It is irritating, and it is exhausting for everybody, not simply me.”

Whereas accidents are all the time a difficulty for each crew to some extent, the Mystics’ scenario has been outrageous. It began earlier than play even started, when Clark suffered a foot damage whereas taking part in abroad in France and underwent season-ending surgical procedure. Then, Delle Donne wanted one other again surgical procedure — her second since 2019 — and missed the crew’s first 21 video games. Whereas she has since returned to the court docket, she’s solely performed in three of six video games since her comeback. 

In fact, shedding a key free agent signing for the season and a former MVP for almost all of it could be dangerous sufficient. (That does not even keep in mind that Emma Meesseman stayed abroad this season.) That was simply the beginning for the Mystics. They have been already shorthanded on opening evening, and it solely obtained progressively worse because the season went alongside. 

Cloud, Charles and Myisha Hines-Allen have all missed no less than 5 video games. Among the many 15 gamers to go well with up for the Mystics, solely Ariel Atkins and Theresa Plaisance have performed in all 27 video games. At one level, issues obtained so dangerous that they have been solely dressing six gamers, as in the event that they have been a youth crew that did not know who was exhibiting up from sport to sport. 

Maybe probably the most irritating side of all is that after Delle Donne got here again after the Olympic break, it appeared they’d lastly get again on monitor. Whereas they misplaced to the Seattle Storm in EDD’s return, they lastly had their finest beginning 5 out on the ground and have been simply exterior of playoff place. Even with every part that had gone unsuitable, it felt like if they may simply get into the playoffs, that they had the high-end expertise to maybe make some noise in spite of everything. 

Then Charles obtained damage, Hines-Allen obtained sick and Delle Donne hasn’t been capable of play each sport. Even now, that one sport in opposition to the Storm remains to be the one time their finest 5 has been on the market. Whereas the Mystics nonetheless might again their manner into the playoffs, they’d then need to win two single-elimination video games on the street simply to make the semi-finals. 

Typically, because the Mystics are discovering out in merciless trend, it is simply not your 12 months. | Mystics head coach Mike Thibault says crew’s damage scenario is the ‘worst in 50 years of teaching’


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