MVP candidate Sylvia Fowles sidelined indefinitely with calf strain

Cassandra Negley
·4 min read

Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles will be sidelined indefinitely with a right calf strain, the team announced Friday.

Fowles is having an MVP season so far in the WNBA bubble in Bradenton, Florida, but re-injured the calf less than two minutes into Thursday night’s 87-77 loss to the Las Vegas Aces.

The Lynx are already without forward/guard Karima Christmas Kelly. The league has already experienced injuries to high-profile players at about the halfway point of the schedule.

Fowles out indefinitely for Lynx

The Lynx (6-3) are not even halfway through the truncated season at IMG Academy and will be without their leading scorer and rebounder.

Fowles, 34, missed the game on Aug. 5, played two days later, and missed again on Aug. 9. She returned on Tuesday and played barely more than a minute on Thursday before re-injuring the calf. She pulled up limping after a non-contact play and was in obvious pain.

"It's the type of blow you'd think it would be — you're losing one of the best players in the league and an MVP candidate," Reeve said after the loss. "We did play a couple of games without Syl, so we're sort of familiar with what needs to happen and what our rotations will be."

The Lynx said progress will be issued “when more information becomes available.”

Fowles’ MVP-worthy season

Fowles, the 2017 MVP, is having another MVP-worthy season in her 13th year by averaging 14.6 points and 9.7 rebounds per game and hitting 60.9 percent of her shots. She’s a two-time WNBA champion and two-time WNBA Finals winner.

The Aces (7-2), led by fellow MVP candidate A’ja Wilson, moved into better positioning in the whirlwind of the season with Fowles absence. Storm (8-1) star Breanna Stewart is also in contention for another MVP award after missing last season with an Achilles injury.

Collier tasked with more for Lynx

Reigning rookie of the year Napheesa Collier stepped in with her second double-double of the season at 21 points and 14 rebounds, a career-high. Her average of 13.7 points and 8.6 rebounds per game will only increase without Fowles. Though on Thursday it wasn’t enough and the Lynx fell behind the Aces in the standings.

Christmas-Kelly, one of the three captains with Fowles and Collier, ruptured her Achilles tendon on July 28, just days into the season. The Lynx do have back Odyssey Sims, who arrived in the bubble last week four months after giving birth to her son.

And rookie Crystal Dangerfield has been strong in the last string of games. She ranks third on the Lynx at 12.7 points per game.

Rookies, MVP candidates suffer injuries

Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles holding the ball ready to shoot with a dark background.
Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles is out indefinitely. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

The injury is only the latest to hit the “wubble” in Bradenton. Injuries were a concern ahead of the season since players weren’t able to be very active during quarantine, had only two weeks of training camp and are playing games on average every other day.

Storm star Sue Bird has missed time due to a bone bruise, and Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi has also missed time after an apparent hip injury last week.

It has hit the 2020 rookie class particularly hard. New York Liberty sensation and No. 1 pick Sabrina Ionescu suffered a grade 3 ankle injury in her third game of the season. She has since returned to New York to be seen by specialists.

The Atlanta Dream’s No. 4 pick Chennedy Carter, who always had a good shot at rookie of the year, is also out with an ankle injury. The Dream said earlier this week she will miss “approximately” two weeks. There is no word on the severity of her injury.

And Dallas Wings star Satou Sabally, the No. 2 pick out of Oregon, has been on the injury report for back issues. She is listed as out for Friday night’s game. Fellow rookie Tyasha Harris is also listed as questionable.

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