Sun Star Jonquel Jones Will Not Play This WNBA Season Due To ‘Serious Health Concerns’

The WNBA announced its return to play plan last week, with a 22-game season set to take place at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The big question that remains for the WNBA is how many of its stars will be willing to participate given the health concerns of many, coupled with those that believe playing would distract from the Black Lives Matter movement.

The latter has led the Atlanta Dream’s Renee Montgomery to follow in the footsteps of Maya Moore and announce her intentions of sitting out the season to work on social justice reform. The Las Vegas Aces new star Angel McCoughtry, on the other hand, has announced she will be playing, while petitioning the league to allow players to wear the names of victims of police brutality on the backs of their uniforms.

Shortly after McCoughtry announced she would be playing, a major star announced she would not, as the Connecticut Sun released the news that star Jonquel Jones, who finished third in MVP voting a year ago while leading the Sun to the Finals, would not be playing this season due to health concerns.

“After careful thought and consideration I’ve decided to forego the upcoming WNBA season and use this time to focus on personal, social, and familial growth,” said Jones. “This was one of the toughest decisions I’ve made but the resurgence and unknown aspects of COVID -19 have raised serious health concerns that I do not feel comfortable competing in. I’d like to thank the Connecticut Sun organization, my teammates and fans for their unwavering support and understanding. While I won’t be competing this year I’m looking forward to lacing up with my teammates in 2021 and continuing the pursuit for a WNBA championship. Wishing the entire league and everyone involved a healthy and enjoyable season. Go Sun!”

As Jones notes, the recent spike in cases in Florida — with little indication there will be any statewide precautions taken to try and limit the spread once again — coupled with the unknown of long-term complications from the disease has led her to choose to sit out the season. It is a more than understandable concern, and while surely a difficult decision to make, it’s one that is commendable. Sun GM and head coach Curt Miller said the organization supports Jones’ decision fully and looks forward to welcoming her back in 2021.

Jones was spectacular last season, averaging 14.6 points and 9.7 rebounds per game for the Sun, upping those averages to 17.9 points and 10.4 boards per game in the playoffs as the Sun fell just shy of a championship to the Mystics in a thrilling Finals. With the addition of DeWanna Bonner this offseason, the Sun figured to have a dominant frontcourt and were among the title favorites, but with Jones now opting out, their path gets much more difficult.