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Will coronavirus sideline WNBA 2020 season?

WNBA With sporting and arena events shut down across the United States, league officials and players are waiting to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the WNBA 2020 season.

The NBA, NHL and AHL all are operating under suspended seasons, with the hope that the end of the regular season and playoffs could still happen in coming months. The WNBA is in a different situation: technically, we’re still in the WNBA offseason, with players arriving from overseas and an upcoming schedule that includes an April 17 draft , the start of training camp on April 26 and the tip of the WNBA 2020 season on May 15. 

With much of the nation on lockdown for at least the next five weeks, those dates will surely slip. The draft still could be held virtually on April 17, of course, but a start of training camp a month away could be delayed, which could then push back the start of the WNBA regular season on May 15. There are ways to mitigate that impact, of course — you could see a shorter training camp with a minimum of exhibition games, for example — but without enough data, we’re talking about educated guesses.

For players returning from Europe, it’s now a wait-and-see game, with no unofficial workouts and no trips to the gym (depending on their locale, of course) to stay in shape. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Guard Tiffany Hayes has taken walks on the nature path near her home. Center Kalani Brown celebrated her 23rd birthday indoors with her family. Coach Nicki Collen has been homeschooling, staying in touch with players as they return to the U.S. and watching film of draft prospects. 

[Atlanta Dream forward Glory] Johnson, who is in Arlington, Texas, played on a short-term contract in Russia before returning home to focus on spending time with her daughters and homeschooling them before the WNBA season. With the new social restrictions, she can still lift weights and do cardio, but there’s no place for her to shoot. She has been teaching her daughters how to dribble, and her mom is vocal about how loud that is….

“I was practicing like, you know, at any point in time I would need to perform in front of anybody,” she said. “And I’m working out like at any point, someone might come and ask me to show them a work out. It’s like every day you have to kind of be ready to go.”

We expect to see an announcement in coming days about any potential impact on the WNBA 2020 season.