Elena Delle Donne, the 2019 WNBA MVP for the champion Washington Mystics, will not play in the USA Basketball women's team's exhibition games at UConn (Jan. 27) and Louisville (Feb. 2), nor the Americans' Olympic qualifying tournament in Belgrade, Serbia (Feb. 6-9).
Delle Donne was diagnosed with three herniated disks during the WNBA Finals in October. After having to leave Game 2, she was able to return for Games 3, 4 and 5 as the Mystics won their first title.
However, Delle Donne acknowledged she played through a lot of pain. Her agent, Erin Kane, said Friday that she is rehabbing her injury and won't be available for the upcoming January and February games.
Delle Donne is part of a group of eight WNBA players who committed to training and playing for the U.S. squad in preparation for the 2020 Olympics, but so far she has not been able to compete with the team. In November, she did not play in USA Basketball's four college exhibition games, nor in the Olympic prequalifying tournament in Argentina.
She won a gold medal with the U.S. team in 2016. The Americans are seeking their seventh consecutive Olympic gold at the 2020 Olympics. They already have qualified for the Tokyo Games, but are taking part in the qualifying tournament so the team gets more time to train together.