Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne was diagnosed with a herniated disc on Oct. 2 following Game 2 of the WNBA Finals. But after the Washington Mystics beat the Connecticut Sun 89-78 in Game 5 Thursday night to win the franchise's first championship, Natasha Cloud spilled some tea.
"I'm about to drop this bomb on y'all," the Mystics guard told reporters while Delle Donne giggled and covered her face with her hands. "Elena not only has one herniated disc. She has three."
"The medical staff is gonna kill you right now," Delle Donne quipped.
Despite the herniated discs, plural, Delle Donne contributed 21 points, nine rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal.
Delle Donne was playing through a broken nose and a bone bruise in her right knee, too.
Once the confetti fell, though, her pain seemed to at least temporarily subside as she fully indulged in the celebration:
Delle Donne's motivation was compounded by the fact that the Mystics were swept in last year's Finals by the Seattle Storm, a series in which she was hindered by the bone bruise in her knee.
This is Delle Donne's first NBA championship. The 30-year-old arrived in D.C. ahead of the 2017 season after the Chicago Sky granted her trade request. Following Game 5, she reflected on her decision:
In addition to leading the Mystics to their first title, Delle Donne was named the league MVP while becoming the first player to secure a 50/40/90 season, which signifies at least 50 percent shooting from the field, 40 percent from three and 90 percent from the free-throw line.
She was also named WNBA MVP in 2015 with the Sky.