Chicago Skys Elena Delle Donne sits on the bench during the first half of a WNBA basketball game against the Connecticut Sun, Wednesday, June 25, 2014, in Uncasville, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
NEW YORK — Chicago Sky forward Elena Delle Donne won’t be in the lineup against the New York Liberty on Friday night, sidelined indefinitely with a recurrence of Lyme disease.
The team announced Friday afternoon at shoot-around that Delle Donne had returned home to Delaware. The reigning rookie of the year missed five games this month because of the disease before playing against Connecticut on Wednesday. She scored 13 points in the loss, but said she wasn’t feeling well after the game.
“It’s extremely frustrating for her, obviously physically, but it takes a mental toll as well,” Sky coach Pokey Chatman told The Associated Press. “She tries to be-stoic about everything. But I told her, this thing is real and you are doing the right thing by dealing with it.”
Chatman said her young star approached her about wanting to play against Connecticut. The team had lost four of five games without her.
“She was feeling pretty good,” Chatman said. “It surprised me that she told me she was feeling good and wanted to play Wednesday.”
The 6-foot-5 forward is averaging 21.2 points this season. She was sidelined by the bacterial disease in college at Delaware, missing time on three separate occasions.
“It’s difficult for her and it’s one of those things you don’t know the timetable,” Chatman said. “It’s difficult when you’re a player used to competing at level 10 to be at 4. To be in pain and struggling. Not helping the cause.
“When you’re not yourself, it’s a frustrating thing. We’re giving her the time and she’ll be with the doctors who can treat her. We’ll say some extra prayers for her.”
The Sky (6-8) were finally getting healthy with the return of Sylvia Fowles on Wednesday. She missed the start of the season to recover from offseason hip surgery. Epiphanny Prince took a break early in the season to recover from playing overseas in Russia.