WNBA's first overall pick Ionescu helped off court with injury

NEW YORK (Reuters) - First overall WNBA pick Sabrina Ionescu was helped off the court with an ankle injury on Friday during the New York Liberty’s matchup against the Atlanta Dream, casting a shadow on the highly touted rookie’s debut season.

The Liberty guard rolled her ankle, suffering a sprain, the New York team said, in her third game of the shortened WNBA season, which is being held without fans in a “bubble” setting in Bradenton, Florida, amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Dismayed fans responded to wince-inducing footage (here) of the injury on social media.

“Ouch!!” tweeted three-time NBA champion LeBron James in response. “@sabrina_i20 Get healthy as soon as possible! Health is wealth.”

Ionescu, who was mentored by the late Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and was the only Division I player to record 2,000 career points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists, roared into the league on a wave of monumental expectations.

She scored 33 points during the Liberty’s Wednesday loss to the Dallas Wings.

Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by William Mallard