Aces' Liz Cambage Gets Medical Exemption for 2020 WNBA Season

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 23, 2020

Las Vegas Aces' Liz Cambage (8) plays against the Washington Mystics during the first half of Game 4 of a WNBA playoff basketball series Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

Las Vegas Aces superstar Liz Cambage will miss the 2020 season but still receive her full salary after the WNBA gave her a medical exception amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Mechelle Voepel of ESPN. 

Per that report, Cambage wanted to play this season but "fell severely ill while playing in China over the winter and then was ruled a medically high-risk player by the Aces' team doctor in June. She then had to wait to see if the WNBA would challenge that, but [Aces head coach Bill Laimbeer] said it did not."

The WNBA season will begin on Saturday, with the league's players operating in a bubble environment in Bradenton, Florida, similar to what the NBA has at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.

Players who voluntarily opted out of the season will not get paid, but players who receive medical exceptions, like Cambage, Washington Mystics center Tina Charles, Phoenix Mercury forward Jessica Breland and New York Liberty guard Asia Durr, will. The WNBA reserved the right to review any case of a team doctor deciding a player should be medically exempt from participating in the 2020 season. 

"Our team doctor said, 'No, she's not going to play in this environment,'" Laimbeer said, per Voepel. "The league said, 'Wait, we're maybe going to put her in front of the panel.' We're of the position that we stand by our medical staff. Then it became beyond our control regarding whatever happened. About a week ago, we got a call from the league saying that they were not going to challenge the decision on Liz."

Cambage believed she may have caught the coronavirus during her time in China. 

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"I actually was sick in hospital, and I honestly think I had corona," Cambage told Australia's The Herald Sun in March (h/t Voepel). "I was so weak, I couldn't walk, I was in a wheelchair. I had pneumonia. I think I had it before it was a global thing."

Cambage, 28, averaged 15.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game in the 2019 season. She helped Las Vegas reach the postseason and was an All-Star for the third time.