Diana Taurasi to miss rest of regular season for Phoenix Mercury

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Phoenix Mercury star Diana Taurasi wants to miss the rest of the regular season with a quad strain, the team announced Monday.

It is unclear if Taurasi, 40, might be able to return to the court should the Mercury make the playoffs. At 14-19 entering Monday with three games to play, Phoenix is ​​among six teams jockeying for the WNBA’s final three postseason berths.

The league’s all-time leading scorer, Taurasi has spent all 18 of her seasons with the Mercury. She is the team’s second-leading scorer this season (16.7 points per game), behind Skylar Diggins-Smith (19.7), and is second in assists (3.9) and free throw percentage (89.4).

Ahead of her final regular season matchup last month against the Seattle Storm’s Sue Bird, a fellow former University of Connecticut standout who is set to retire after this season, Taurasi expressed uncertainty about her own future.

“Seeing how happy [Bird] is going through her retirement years made me really think about that long winter,” Taurasi said then to ESPN. “When the season ends, I’ll be a free agent, and I’ll see what’s best for me. I don’t know what that is right now.

“It’s always something that, as you get older as an athlete, you start thinking about, and you start really kind of bouncing off ideas on [wife] penny [Taylor] and my close friends and people that I really respect and trust their opinion.”

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After winning three straight national championships at Connecticut and earning two Naismith player of the year awards, Taurasi was selected first overall by the Mercury in the 2004 draft. She also won the first of five Olympic gold medals that year and has helped Phoenix win three league titles, most recently in 2014. Taurasi earned MVP honors in 2009 and has been named to the all-WNBA first team a record 10 times.

To replace Taurasi on its roster for the remainder of the season, the Mercury signed Yvonne Turner, a 34-year-old guard who played for Phoenix from 2017 to 2019.

The Mercury has spent the season without Brittney Griner, a star center who was arrested in Russia in February for bringing less than a gram of cannabis oil into the country. Griner last week was given a 9½-year prison sentence, sparking an outcry from around the WNBA and elsewhere.

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