Things started out well this WNBA season for former Arizona star Aari McDonald. The Atlanta Dream guard was an established starter, starting all five games this season after starting six last season. Then came the June 2 game against the reigning champion Las Vegas Aces.
The Dream announced on Tuesday that McDonald suffered a torn labrum in last week’s 92-87 loss to the Aces. The diagnosis was confirmed by an MRI this week according to the team’s press release.
McDonald has set a number of career highs in her third season in the WNBA. She averages 28.7 minutes per game, up from 24.3 last season. Her 3.8 assists per game are a jump from the 2.6 she dished out last year and have her ranked 15th in the league. She averages a career-high 2.4 rebounds per game.
McDonald has also had some struggles in the early going, although in a very small sample size of just five games. She’s hitting just 26.3 percent of her shots, a big drop from her 41.1 percent accuracy last season. She has also hit a career-low 30 percent of her 3-point shots, and her steals have dropped from 1.5 per game last year to 0.2 per game over the first handful of games this season. Her six points per game are almost half as many as she had last season when she averaged 11.1 ppg.
With McDonald expected to be out for at least the rest of June and center Iliana Rupert temporarily suspended due to overseas commitments, rookie guard Taylor Mikesell was signed to a rest-of-season contract with the Dream on Monday.