Skylar Diggins-Smith will miss the remainder of the WNBA regular season for personal reasons, the Phoenix Mercury announced on Thursday. This continues a rough patch for the Mercury, a team that is still chasing a spot in the playoffs.
Losing Diggins-Smith means the Mercury will have to do without their leading scorer. The 5-foot-9 guard averaged 19.7 points and 5.5 assists per game on 42.9 percent shooting from the field this season. The team has suspended her contract and is planning on signing a replacement player who will be available for Friday’s game against the Dallas Wings.
Diggins-Smith had already missed the two most recent games. She was listed as out with a non-COVID illness during the Mercury’s win over the New York Liberty on Aug. 6, and then out for personal reasons during the loss to the Minnesota Lynx on Wednesday.
The news on Diggins-Smith comes just a few days after Diana Taurasi was ruled out for the rest of the regular season with a quad strain. The team has also had to deal with the Brittney Griner situation. Griner, who has been detained in Russia since February for having vape cartridges containing marijuana concentrate in her luggage, was sentenced to nine years in prison on Aug. 4.
Hearing the sentencing was an emotional moment for the Mercury, and Diggins-Smith was one of the players who spoke on how “heavy” the situation is and the trauma the team is feeling.
The Mercury have lost four out of their last five games since July 31. They are currently in a four-way tie for the eight spot in the standings with a 14-20 record, same as the Lynx, Liberty and the Atlanta Dream.
Phoenix has two more games remaining. After Friday’s game against the Wings, the team will wrap up the regular season by facing the Chicago Sky on Sunday.