The Lynx reached their league-designated roster limit of 12 players Tuesday by making decisions on two key potential contributors.
Guard Odyssey Sims, who gave birth to a son in early April, will be inactive.
She’ll be able to practice with the team and could be activated at any time, at which point another player would have to be waived
And forward Jessica Shepard, coming back from an ACL injury sustained early last season, will not play in the WNBA this year.
She will officially be listed as suspended while staying in the Twin Cities and, when allowed in a summer affected by the coronavirus pandemic, will return to working on her rehab with the team’s training staff.
That leaves the Lynx with a 12-player active roster that includes Sylvia Fowles and Kayla Alexander at center; Damiris Dantas and rookie Mikiah Herbert Harrigan at power forward; Napheesa Collier, Karima Christmas-Kelly and Bridget Carleton at small forward and Shenise Johnson, Cecilia Zandalasini, Rachel Banham, Lexie Brown and rookie Crystal Dangerfield at guard.
The moves were mandated by the WNBA despite the fact both training camp and the season have been delayed. This way the roster players can start getting paid June 1.
“This has definitely been a difficult time for the rookie prospects,” Lynx General Manager and coach Cheryl Reeve said.
She waived guards Linnae Harper and Erica Ogwumike on Monday. Harper had been signed to a training camp contract while Ogwumike, a third-round choice in the draft by New York, had been acquired by the Lynx in a draft-day deal. Both had to be let go before being able to show their talent.
The Lynx remain confident Sims will play for them at some point this season, perhaps sooner than later, depending on when the league gets going.
For Shepard, it had to have been a difficult decision. The team’s second-round selection in the 2019 draft, Shepard was an early surprise, averaging 4.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists of the bench over the first six games. But she tore the ACL in her right knee June 8 and had surgery June 20.
The pandemic and decision to close WNBA facilities essentially robbed Shepard of valuable rehab time with the team’s training staff.
“Because of the pandemic she lost two months,” Reeve said.
The plan is to have Shepard back for 2021.