NEW YORK — Las Vegas Aces All-Star center Liz Cambage will miss the upcoming WNBA season after she was medically excused by the league's independent panel of doctors, the team said Thursday.
By being granted the medical exemption, Cambage will be paid her full salary for the season by the Aces. Had Cambage's request been denied by the panel, she would have had to either go to Florida to the WNBA bubble or sit out the season and not get paid.
The Aces declared Cambage as a protected player who was at high risk for getting severe illness if she contracted COVID-19.
“Our team doctor said, ‘No, she’s not going to play in this environment,’” coach Bill Laimbeer said in a zoom call Thursday. “The league at some point said we may put her in front of the panel. We went OK. That’s the league's business."
The league had the option to review cases of players who were declared protected by their teams. If it chose to review the case, the case would go to the panel of physicians.
The Aces were told last week that the league wasn't going to challenge the decision on Cambage.
Cambage averaged 15.9 points and 8.2 rebounds last season for the Aces, her first with the team. The 28-year-old from Australia has played four years in the league after getting drafted second in 2011 by the Tulsa Shock. She was traded from Dallas to Las Vegas before last season. She re-signed with the Aces in April.
The Aces are also missing Kelsey Plum, who tore her left Achilles tendon while training last month.
Last week the panel granted a medical excuse for Tina Charles but denied Elena Delle Donne's request. The reigning MVP has been battling Lyme disease for over a decade. She is still being paid by the Mystics because she's rehabbing her back after having surgery in January.
The New York Liberty confirmed that second-year guard Asia Durr also was granted a medical exemption by the board. Durr had announced earlier this month that she was opting out because she tested positive for COVID-19 in June. The panel determined that she was medically excused, so she will get paid.