October 8, 2020 | 12:01pm
Sabrina Ionescu wants to leave, so she can return even stronger.
After being limited to just three games with the Liberty in her rookie season because of an ankle injury, the former No. 1 overall pick said Wednesday that she is considering playing overseas in the winter, so she doesn’t enter the 2021 WNBA season off such a lengthy layoff.
“I wouldn’t really be going for the money,” Ionescu said. “I’d be going for a couple months to kind of just get back into playing basketball, playing against other players. It’s really easy to just go through workouts [alone], and it’s completely different to play 5-on-5 with refs.
“There’s a few teams [in Europe] that I was talking to before the WNBA season started. So I’ll still be talking to them and see if I can go out there later.”
Ionescu, who hasn’t played since July 31, is currently participating in non-contact workouts in her home state of California.
“Partially that has to do with COVID, because I’m not trying to find random people at the gym to play against,” Ionescu said. “I did yoga this morning at 7, yoga and Pilates. I did some cardio, lifted, going to do a basketball workout and recovery. So I really have a very full day.”
Without Ionescu, the Liberty went 2-20 in the WNBA bubble. Next year should only be better following a tumultuous 2020, which included the shocking death of friend and mentor Kobe Bryant, and the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament, where the Oregon star — the first player in college basketball history with at least 2,000 points, 1,000 assists and 1,000 rebounds — planned on leading the 31-2 Ducks to their first-ever title.
“If this year wouldn’t have happened to me, I think it would have been more of a devastating kind of season-ending injury,” Ionescu said. “But I think I kind of just took it. And just [said], ‘What’s next? What can I do now to get better?’”