Phoenix Mercury star Diana Taurasi will miss the remainder of the 2022 WNBA season because of a quad strain.
The team made the announcement Monday and signed Yvonne Turner to a hardship contract after Taurasi's injury.
This caps off a difficult year for the 10-time All-Star. She averaged 16.7 points, 3.8 assists and 3.4 rebounds in 31 games, shooting 37.3 percent from the field and 33.7 percent from beyond the arc.
Taurasi leaned heavily on her long-range jumper since she lacked the burst off the dribble that helped her become the WNBA's all-time leading scorer. Her 273 three-point attempts are the most in the league, and her 67.9 percent attempt rate on threes is well above her career rate (50.1), per Basketball Reference.
While Taurasi is past her prime, her absence could have a big impact on Phoenix. The Mercury have a half-game lead on the New York Liberty and a one-game edge on the Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks for the final playoff seed with three games to play.
Vanessa Nygaard's squad is in danger of missing out on the postseason.
Nygaard can't ask much more of Skylar Diggins-Smith, who has a 28.5 percent usage rate and is performing at an MVP level.
The pressure will be squarely on Diamond DeShields, Sophie Cunningham and Shey Peddy to share more of the scoring burden. The trio had 63 points in Saturday's 76-62 win over the New York Liberty.
For Taurasi, the question becomes whether this is how a legendary career comes to an end.
Unlike Sue Bird and Sylvia Fowles, the 40-year-old hasn't announced her intentions for the 2023 season. She's a free agent in the offseason, and retirement is always on the table for a player her age.
But this probably isn't the final chapter Taurasi intended to write for herself. A season-ending injury and a losing record for the Mercury could provide enough motivation for her to return next year.