WNBA

Jewell Loyd ankle injury takes away another key player for Seattle Storm

The Seattle Storm have been thinned by injuries, and now guard Jewell Loyd is facing an extended absence with an ankle injury.

In the first quarter of Tuesday night’s loss to the Las Vegas Aces, Seattle Storm guard Jewell Loyd went down after rolling her ankle on a breakaway drive. An extended absence seemed possible, and the Seattle Times has confirmed Loyd will be sidelined for at least two weeks.

The defending champion Storm have already been without 2018 WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart, who suffered a torn Achilles while playing in Europe this spring. Sue Bird is also recovering from knee surgery, and it’s not clear when she will return. Jordin Canada has missed three of the last four games with a left knee injury, but she will return to the starting lineup.

Loyd is Seattle’s second-leading scorer this season, averaging 15.8 points per game along with 3.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists per contest. She was playing very well, with over 20 points in back-to-back games before being injured Tuesday night.

With Loyd out, Natasha Howard is the only healthy Storm with a double-digit scoring average (18.9 points per game). She is also the team’s leading rebounder (9.2 per game) along with averaging 1.8 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.7 blocked shots per game.

Heading into Friday night’s game against Chicago, the Storm and coach Dan Hughes have weathered the key injuries to the tune of a solid 7-5 record. They are just ninth in the WNBA in scoring (73.7 points per game), but they are first in points allowed (71.8 per game) as they’ve allowed 63 or less in three straight games.

The team has confirmed Loyd’s injury to be a severe ankle sprain and a bone bruise. She will be evaluated in two weeks. As the Times noted, injuries similar to Loyd’s typically sideline someone 2-4 weeks.

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Canada’s return to action will help offset the loss of Loyd. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Sami Whitcomb and Shavonte Zellous are candidates to join Canada in the starting backcourt.

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