The Phoenix Mercury announced on Friday that starting guard Kia Nurse will be out for the remainder of the 2021 WNBA playoffs after suffering a torn ACL in her right knee. That includes Game 5 of their semifinal series with the Las Vegas Aces, which is set for Friday night in Vegas.
Nurse suffered the injury less than a minute into the Mercury's Game 4 loss to the Aces on Wednesday. After A'ja Wilson missed a jumper, Diana Taurasi threw an outlet pass ahead to Nurse, who was sprinting the floor in transition. As Nurse caught the ball, her knee buckled and she collapsed to the ground in obvious pain.
While Nurse doesn't get the same level of attention as Taurasi, Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins-Smith, she's still a big part of this team, and this is a brutal loss for the Mercury. So far in the playoffs, Nurse was averaging 8.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game, while shooting 45.5 percent from 3-point land. Save for the 3-point shooting, those numbers don't pop, but her ability to space the floor and guard multiple positions on the defensive end made the Mercury much more dynamic. Her absence will be felt heading into a must-win Game 5 against the Aces, and if they're able to win, in the Finals against the Chicago Sky.
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This is also awful for Nurse on a personal level. She spent the first few seasons of her career on a bad New York Liberty team, and this was her first chance to compete for a title. Now, she'll not only miss out on that opportunity but will likely miss most of next season as well. Furthermore, she won't be able to play overseas in the winter, which means losing out on a big paycheck. There's never a good time to tear your ACL, but this was especially unfortunate timing for Nurse.