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Asia Durr announces return to basketball after 2 seasons wiped out by COVID-19

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It's hard to find a professional athlete hurt worse by COVID-19 than Asia Durr.

The No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 WNBA draft missed both the 2020 and 2021 seasons due to a lingering case of the coronavirus. A former Louisville standout, Durr dealt with debilitating lung pain when she should have been playing her second and third WNBA seasons alongside Sabrina Ionescu with the New York Liberty.

It took a long time, but Durr delivered some good news via Instagram Live on Monday. She said she has been medically cleared to play basketball again.

Durr's announcement:

"So, as y'all know, I was sick last year and I have long-haulers, but today, I went through a lot of testing, cardiac testing. When you play in the WNBA, you have to go through certain testing after testing positive for COVID, you have to go through cardiac testing, you have to go through like everything to make sure your heart has no damage from having COVID. 

"So, I went through all of that testing and, guys, guess what? I have been cleared to play basketball again! Let's go!"

Simply reaching the court will represent a massive achievement for Durr, considering what she has gone through.

As if missing two full seasons wasn't enough to show Durr had an awful case of COVID-19, she detailed her symptoms between missed seasons in an interview with HBO's "Real Sports." She did not paint a pleasant picture:

"I go back and forth seeing doctors, hospitals, stuff. I couldn't breathe; I was spitting up blood. 

"Lung pain that was so severe it felt like somebody took a long knife and was just stabbing you in your lungs each second. I woke up 2 o’clock in the morning vomiting, going back and forth to the bathroom. I couldn’t keep anything down ... I've lost 32 pounds."

That weight loss represents 21% of the guard's listed body weight when she was last playing with the Liberty.

After all that, Durr represents an unknown quantity for the Liberty, who have her under contract for the 2022 season for $72,141, according to Spotrac. Durr was one of the most exciting players in college basketball when she entered the draft, averaging 21.2 points per game in her senior year at Louisville, but her rookie year was marred by a hip injury that eventually resulted in surgery. She hasn't played since.