Elena Delle Donne powered through a broken nose and 3 herniated discs to bring the Washington Mystics their first championship

Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty ImagesWNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne refused to let injury slow her down in the Finals, fuelling the Washington Mystics to their first title.
  • The Washington Mystics defeated the Connecticut Sun on Thursday night to win their first WNBA title.
  • The Mystics were led by league MVP Elena Delle Donne, who played through several injuries to help her team take the championship.
  • After the game, one of Delle Donne’s teammates revealed that her injuries were even worse than people knew.
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Elena Delle Donne was already playing through pain.

The Washington Mystics superstar played in a knee brace through the 2019 season after suffering a brutal injury in the postseason last year. This year she donned a mask to protect a recently broken nose. She was forced to exit Game 2 of the Finals due to a herniated disc but returned for Game 3 to play 26 minutes in a 94-81 Mystics win.

As it turns out, fans still didn’t have the full run-down of Delle Donne’s injuries. After the Mystics’ 89-87 win in a decisive Game 5 on Thursday night, her teammate Natasha Cloud broke the news.

“I’m about to drop this bomb on y’all,” the Mystics guard said during the post-game press conference. “Elena not only has one herniated disc. She has three.”

“The medical staff is gonna kill you right now,” Delle Donne said with a laugh.

It hurt. While describing the herniated discs to reporters after Game 3, Delle Donne said she was struggling to sleep because the pain was so severe.

“There’s only two positions I can lay in where I’m not in pain,” Delle Donne said. “It’s just a lot of moving around through the night and just trying to find a little bit of sleep when I can.”

Elena Delle DonneAP Photo/Nick WassElena Delle Donne.

But whatever pain or weariness Delle Donne had, she pushed it to the back of her mind for a tightly contested Game 5, finishing with 21 points, nine rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and most importantly, a championship.

“I asked her before the game, ‘Will you be playing like Delly?'” said teammate Kristi Toliver, per the Washington Post. “She was like, ‘Yes, open up the playbook,’ so she was ready to rock and roll, and I’m just really, really proud of her and her heart and her pride.”

After a back and forth game, the Mystics pulled away from the Sun with an 8-0 run in the fourth quarter and got to celebrate in front of their home fans as the confetti fell.

Emma Meesseman was named Finals MVP. She scored 22 points off the bench on 9 of 13 to go along with three assists, three rebounds, two steals, and two blocks.

But even after Meesseman’s big performance, it was Delle Donne that would take the championship trophy home for the night.

It looks like she finally got some good sleep.

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