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Liberty's Asia Durr skips WNBA season citing 'complicated and arduous' battle with COVID-19

Cassandra Negley
·Writer
·3 min read
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Asia Durr, the New York Liberty’s No. 2 pick in the 2019 WNBA draft, will skip the 2020 season at IMG Academy in Florida due to a positive COVID-19 test a month ago.

Durr announced Tuesday morning she was opting out as a “medical high risk player.” She said in a statement she tested positive for the virus on June 8 and the battle since has been “complicated and arduous.” She continues to fight and has not fully recovered, she said.

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Durr, a former Louisville standout, continued in her statement:

“So much about this virus is unknown and my heart is heavy, even as I make the decision that I know is best for my long term wellness. I want to thank my teammates, the Liberty organization, our fans and my partners for their compassion. I plan to stay connected to my team virtually and support them on the court and in their efforts around social justice and activism from the bubble however I can. I hope you will do the same.”

She will make her full 2020 salary since she was deemed high risk by doctors. Las Vegas Aces standout Liz Cambage will also skip the season, her agent said last week, due to health factors that put her at high risk of the virus.

New York Liberty's Asia Durr during the first half of a preseason WNBA basketball game, Tuesday, May 14, 2019, in Uncasville, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
New York Liberty's Asia Durr tested positive for COVID-19 last month and has still not fully recovered, she said. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

The WNBA announced its first round of COVID-19 test results on Monday after it began mandatory testing on June 28. Seven of the 137 tested over the past week were positive, a rate of 5.1 percent. It did not announce individual players.

The Liberty also did not divulge why Durr, who averaged 9.7 points in 18 appearances before injury in 2019, would sit out the season when the team announced it Tuesday minutes before Durr confirmed the news.

General manager Jonathan Kolb said in a statement:

“Asia worked extremely hard this offseason to put herself in position to take a major leap forward in her second WNBA season. While we are disappointed that we will need to wait a bit longer to see her emerge as one of the bright young players in the game, we fully recognize and support the difficult decision she had to make amidst unprecedented circumstances. Brooklyn will be ready for her in 2021.”

The Liberty, featuring No. 1 pick Sabrina Ionescu and six fellow rookies, traveled to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, on Monday to enter the bubble. The league is slated to begin its 22-game season later this month.

The Indiana Fever are waiting at least five days to make the trip “in an abundance of caution due to the CDC's close contact self-quarantine requirements” after two players tested positive. They are the only team not yet in Florida.

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