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Mercury guard Diana Taurasi to miss at least four weeks with sternum fracture

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Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi will miss at least four weeks with a sternum fracture, the team announced Tuesday.

Taurasi, just six points away from 9,000 for her WNBA career, suffered the injury May 16 at Connecticut but played in subsequent games May 18 and May 21.

A CT scan this week revealed a small sternum fracture that could keep her out until July and perhaps threaten her participation at the Tokyo Olympics, which would be her fifth.

The Mercury (2-2) play at home against Las Vegas on Wednesday. Taurasi had been expected to become the first WNBA player to reach 9,000 career points during that game.

Instead, Phoenix will have to find a replacement in the starting lineup while still without Bria Hartley, recovering from major knee surgery in September.

Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi is on the verge of surpassing 9,000 points for her WNBA career. She already is the WNBA career scoring leader.
Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi is on the verge of surpassing 9,000 points for her WNBA career. She already is the WNBA career scoring leader.

Shey Peddy could become a starter in the back court along with Skylar Diggins-Smith. Or Kia Nurse could move to shooting guard with Megan Walker starting at small forward.

After Taurasi, no one else in the league's 25-year history has reached 7,500 points and the closest active player to Taurasi is her former teammate Candice Dupree, now with Seattle, at 6,760.

Taurasi is averaging 15.8 points early in her 17th season. The individual milestone she really covets is 10,000 points going back to June 2017 when she passed Tina Thompson to become the WNBA career scoring leader (Thompson still is No. 2).

It's debatable whether Taurasi can reach 10K by the end of her age 40 season in 2022.

For context, Katie Smith scored 7,885 professional career points in her ABL/WNBA combined career (17 seasons through 2013).

Taurasi's path from 8,000 — reached on June 5, 2018 — has been arduous. She only played six games (26 points) in 2019 due to back and hamstring injuries then was limited to 19 games (356 points) in the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season.

If she had scored her typical 500-plus points in each of those seasons, she would be coming up on 10,000 this summer with a chance to reach 11K before she's done.

Reach the reporter at jeff.metcalfe@arizonarepublic.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeffmetcalfe.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Mercury's Diana Taurasi to miss at least four weeks with sternum fracture