Washington Mystics offseason updates: Surgery for Delle Donne, CBA, and more

On Wednesday, the Washington Mystics announced that 2019 WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne underwent “minor” back surgery last week and is expected to recover by the start of the 2020 season. The surgery, which took place on January 24, was to repair the injury that forced Delle Donne to exit Game 2 of the WNBA Finals and limited her mobility in the following three games.

Delle Donne’s surgery was performed in Dallas by Dr. Andrew Dossett, an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in spinal surgery and consults for the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, and Dallas Stars. Other professional athletes he has treated include the Denver Nuggets’ Michael Porter Jr., the Cowboys’ Tony Romo, and the Rangers’ Ivan Rodriguez.

Before her injury on October 1, Delle Donne had committed to join USA Basketball this offseason for five training segments between November and April, leading up to the Olympics this August. She has not played in any of the segments to date and is likely to miss all five. However, she could still be selected to the Olympic team, assuming that her recovery goes according to plan.

Despite the injury, Delle Donne averaged 15.0 points and 6.7 rebounds in the Mystics’ final three playoff games to help the team secure the championship. But her regular season was one of the finest in franchise—and league—history: she averaged 19.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.2 assists and recorded the first 50-40-90 season in WNBA history by shooting over 50% from the field, 40% from 3-point range, and 90% from the free throw line. With Delle Donne now an unrestricted free agent and the WNBA’s new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in place, she is poised for a lucrative new contract, which may be coming soon.

Toliver gets paid

Last offseason, Ava Wallace of The Washington Post reported that Toliver made just $10,000 for her work as a Washington Wizards assistant coach. This was because of a provision in the CBA that was intended to prevent WNBA teams that are affiliated with NBA teams or other companies from using the promise of lucrative offseason jobs with those affiliates to lure free agents or to circumvent the WNBA salary cap. The new CBA modifies that rule and allows players who meet a specific set of criteria to earn “the fair market value of the services to be performed.” According to Wallace, “Although the new CBA doesn’t take effect until May, Toliver already is earning what the Wizards say is a competitive salary to coach. The team declined to go into detail about her contract, citing company policy.”

Cloud, Meesseman take home awards

In December, Meesseman won Belgium’s Vlaamse Reus award for her accomplishments last year. Along with the WNBA championship and Finals MVP award, she also led Belgium to a fifth-place finish in FIBA’s EuroBasket tournament last summer.

And last week, Cloud was honored with the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association’s Native Daughter Award, joining Carli Lloyd and Dawn Staley as the only three female winners since 1991. Cloud self-deprecatingly told the media, “I’m extremely honored and humbled because I would put them on a whole other level than me.” However, this is not Cloud’s first award that ties back to Staley: on August 27, she received the Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award for her community service in the Washington, DC, area.

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