The status of the 2020 WNBA season is still somewhat up in the air, but if they do end up playing late this summer, the Las Vegas Aces will have to do so without Kelsey Plum. Early on Thursday afternoon, the team announced that Plum underwent surgery for a torn Achilles tendon, and will miss the upcoming campaign.
Plum later confirmed the news on social media. Taking to Twitter, she wrote, "Where do I start....I tore my achillies tendon couple days ago. So many people that love and support me and will stand by me through this, I'm grateful. I'll be back, better than ever. Just wait on it."
The No. 1 overall pick in 2017, Plum hasn't quite lived up to her potential, but this is still a massive loss for the Aces. She started 30 games for them last season, and was one of their few reliable guards. Her ability to run the offense and knock down outside shots -- 35.7 percent from 3, second only to Kayla McBride on the team -- was crucial for an Aces bunch starved for spacing. It was little surprise the Aces were 6.1 points per 100 possessions better on the offensive end with her on the floor.
Even more impressive was the way Plum stepped up in her first trip to the postseason. Averaging 15.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 7.8 assists on 52.9 percent from downtown, Plum proved she was ready for the moment, and was instrumental in the Aces taking the eventual champion Washington Mystics to five games in the semifinals.
After falling just one game short of the Finals, there were big expectations for both Plum and the Aces coming into this season, especially with five-time All-Star Angel McCoughtry signing in Vegas in free agency. With their depth of talent, they'll still be a contender, but replacing Plum's skillset will be difficult.
The Aces did sign Danielle Robinson in free agency, and Lindsay Allen is back after taking the 2019 season off due to a knee injury, but neither of them offer anything close to Plum's level of 3-point shooting, which the Aces desperately need. Veteran Sugar Rodgers will be forced into a bigger role, and there will now be even more pressure on 2019 No. 1 overall pick Jackie Young to take a leap forward.
If there's any silver lining for Plum, it's that she just recently signed an extension with the club, so her near-term financial future should be secure. Still, this is a devastating injury, as she'll not only miss this season, but may never be the same player after she returns.