Aces guard Chelsea Gray, center Kiah Stokes out for Game 4

Michael VoepelESPN.comOct 17, 2023, 02:16 PM ET3 Minute Read

NEW YORK — The Las Vegas Aces will be without two key players, point guard Chelsea Gray and center Kiah Stokes, for Game 4 of the WNBA Finals against the New York Liberty. This injury news comes as a blow to the Aces as they aim to secure their championship victory.

Both players have suffered foot injuries and were seen wearing boots during the Aces’ practice at Barclays Center. Gray was observed using a scooter for mobility, while Stokes relied on crutches. The exact details of their injuries have not been disclosed.

In the previous game, Gray injured her left foot during the fourth quarter of the Aces’ 87-73 loss in Game 3. Stokes, on the other hand, woke up the day after the game with pain in her right foot and described the situation as a “kind of a WTF moment.”

Although Aces coach Becky Hammon did not explicitly rule out the possibility of Stokes playing in Game 5, Gray’s comments implied that she was not expecting to participate in the remaining games of the series, which the Aces currently lead 2-1.

When asked about the potential long-term effects of the injury, Gray, who is projected to join the 2024 U.S. Olympic team, expressed uncertainty, stating, “I really don’t know. Waiting to talk to people, and we’ll go from there.

“I haven’t had a major injury in over 10 years. It’s a bit of an unfamiliar feeling. Initially, I tried to walk it off on Sunday. That was my first thought.”

Gray has encountered knee injuries in the past, which prematurely ended her junior and senior seasons with the Duke Blue Devils in 2013 and 2014. However, throughout her WNBA career, she has generally maintained good health and has only missed one game prior to this incident during her three seasons with the Aces.

“Getting to the Finals is a precious opportunity. It’s disappointing that we can’t turn back time,” Gray expressed. “But I’m still determined to win the championship. We are a team that relies on collective effort. We haven’t been at full strength for quite some time. Candace [Parker] has been out as well… so we are built to face this moment.

“I have the support of my team, my wife, and my family. Mentally, I am in a good place. There’s still a basketball game and a championship to win. I will find a place to sit on the bench. But I will definitely be engaged in the team huddles and everything.”

Parker, a two-time MVP, has been absent from play since July due to foot surgery. However, Alysha Clark, another Aces free agent signee, has stepped in effectively and was recognized as the WNBA’s Sixth Player of the Year. While Hammon hasn’t determined the starting lineup in the absence of Gray and Stokes, she expressed confidence in the rest of the team.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time MVP and the Aces’ key player since being drafted No. 1 in 2018, echoed the sentiment, stating, “The chemistry we have in the locker room has helped us in numerous games and situations. The sisterhood we have built here has been our safety net.”

Now, the Aces face the challenge of competing against a New York team led by two other MVP winners, Breanna Stewart and Jonquel Jones. Clark, along with 6-foot-4 reserves Cayla George and Alaina Coates, will need to offer strong support to Wilson in this demanding task.

Regarding the guard position, starters Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young possess the necessary experience to handle the point guard responsibilities and initiate the Aces’ offense. Plum and Young, both All-Stars like Gray, understand the importance of stepping up their performances from this point onward. The Aces also have guards Kierstan Bell and Sydney Colson as reserves.

“We have players who are capable of stepping up,” Young affirmed. “Even though Chels isn’t on the floor, you will still see her guiding us during timeouts and being a vocal presence.

“I will frequently look over at her on the bench, observing the plays she draws up. She will have a significant influence on the game.”

Despite the emotional blow to the team, the Las Vegas players and staff emphasize their focus on the ultimate goal of defending their championship title.

“Chelsea’s leadership, decision-making, and ability to make big plays on both ends of the court are irreplaceable and do not show up on the stat sheet,” Plum acknowledged. “It’s incredibly tough.

“However, we are not a conventional team. Our fluidity with multiple guards works to our advantage. We need every member of the team to elevate themselves for the upcoming game.”


Denial of responsibility! Being Sportsfan is an automatic aggregator of Global media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, and all materials to their authors. For any complaint, please reach us at – [email protected]. We will take necessary action within 24 hours.
DMCA compliant image

Leave a Comment