Sabrina Ionescu undergoes ankle surgery, expects to be cleared to resume activity soon

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New York Liberty star Sabrina Ionescu is expected to resume basketball activities in the near future after undergoing ankle surgery on Monday.

Ionescu, who went No. 1 overall in last year’s draft, underwent surgery to remove scar tissue irritating a tendon behind her ankle, the team announced, and is “expected to soon be cleared” to resume physical activity.

“She had a minor ankle procedure to remove a loose bone chip that was irritating a tendon behind her ankle,” her surgeon, Dr. Martin O’Malley, said in a statement. “This chip that occurred during her sprain in July, did not involve the ankle joint cartilage surface and we expect a complete recovery. The ligaments she tore during her injury have all completely healed and there was no need for an ankle ligament stabilization procedure.”

Ionescu sprained ankle in third WNBA game

Ionescu suffered a Grade 3 ankle sprain in her third game with the Liberty this season — which was adjusted and held in a bubble at IMG Academy in Florida due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

She then left the bubble to see specialists and start rehabbing her ankle before opting for the surgery this week.

“I think this time that I’ve had — being at home, seeing my family more than I ever have and now just starting this foundation of what I want to do with my career, so just starting with nutrition, starting to get my body right in all aspects — it’s really given me a time to reflect,” she said last month. “I am really blessed to have played almost three games in the league to see what it was like and know how I need to train, how I need to prepare to be able to play to that level. And so now I can really do that and focus on that in this offseason, which I’m really excited about.

“It’s kind of been a blessing in disguise because I’ve been able to focus on things I’ve never been able to focus on before.”

It’s not clear when the former Oregon standout — who is the only Division I player in history, man or woman, to record 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists in her career — will resume playing officially. She said she is considering playing overseas starting in January or February for the second half of those seasons, though that may prove difficult as much of Europe is imposing lockdowns again due to spikes in the pandemic.

With all of this time away from the game, however, Ionescu is already looking forward to the 2021 WNBA season — where she’ll essentially get to redo her rookie year.

“With the long offseason, I am committed to returning in 2021 fully prepared to rejoin my team and jumpstart my WNBA career,” Ionescu said in a statement on Monday. “My rehab has been going very well and I look forward to getting back on the court.”

New York Liberty star Sabrina Ionescu
New York Liberty star Sabrina Ionescu underwent a minor ankle surgery on Monday after spraining her ankle in her third career game. (Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

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