Basketball

Aces' Liz Cambage expected to miss WNBA season due to health concerns

Las Vegas Aces All-Star centre Liz Cambage is expected to miss the upcoming WNBA season for health reasons, according to her agent.

Centre is considered 'high-risk for severe illness if she contracts COVID-19'

Liz Cambage #8 of the Las Vegas Aces looks to pass against the Connecticut Sun during their game at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on June 2, 2019. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Las Vegas Aces All-Star centre Liz Cambage is expected to miss the upcoming WNBA season for health reasons, according to her agent.

"In the evaluation of Liz Cambage's health and pre-existing risk factors with her team doctor, we believe her to be at high-risk for severe illness if she contracts COVID-19 in participating this WNBA season," Cambage's agent, Allison Galer, told The Associated Press on Saturday night. "We are awaiting the league's determination based on an independent physician panel."

Galer declined to elaborate what the pre-exisiting conditions were, citing Cambage's privacy.

The 6-foot-8 Australian's case is one of a handful that is before the league's independent panel of doctors people familiar with the situation told the AP. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because neither the players nor the league have publicly identified them, with the exception of Cambage.

The panel of physicians decide whether a player would be medically excused and receive full salary for the upcoming season, which is scheduled to start at the end of the month in Florida at IMG Academy. Players can still opt out and skip the season if the panel does not grant them a medical waiver. They will not get paid.

Teams are expected to head to Florida on Monday to start quarantining before training camp opens.

Nearly a dozen other players have opted out

"We planned for 2020 to be a big year for Liz and she was excited to play with the Las Vegas Aces and compete for a championship," Galer said.

So far, about a dozen WNBA players have decided to opt out of playing this year due to a variety of reasons, including health and social advocacy.

Cambage averaged 15.9 points and 8.2 rebounds last season for the Aces — her first with the team. The 28-year-old star has played four years in the league after getting drafted second in 2011 by the Tulsa Shock. She was traded from Dallas to Las Vegas before last season. She had re-signed with the Aces in April.

"Liz is a generational talent and we are going to miss her this season on the court and in the locker room," Aces general manager Dan Padover said.

"She has been incredibly active this off-season in the community raising money to support first responders who battled the brush fires in Australia, continuing to shine a light on mental health awareness, and standing at the forefront of the peaceful protests in her country battling social and racial inequality, and I have no doubt that she will continue to do so this summer.

"Although Liz won't be with us in Florida, she has our full support, and will continue to be a part of the Aces family and the city of Las Vegas for many years to come."

She would be the second Las Vegas starter who will miss the upcoming season. Guard Kelsey Plum tore her left Achilles tendon last month.

The Aces signed veteran centre Avery Warley-Talbert on Saturday. She played for Aces coach Bill Laimbeer when he was in charge of the New York Liberty a few years ago.

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