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Chicago Sky's Azura Stevens, Diamond DeShields Leave WNBA Bubble

Chicago Sky players Azura Stevens and Diamond DeShields have left the WNBA bubble.

Stevens is out for the season with an injured left knee and is being evaluated by a cartilage specialist. DeShields left for personal reasons.

“We just have to be professional,” Chicago coach James Wade said. “Life hits you with a lot of stuff and you have to be professional. That’s what i’m asking of the players that are here. We saw them this morning and wished them well and have to continue playing,”

Stevens was having the best season of her young career, averaging 11.5 points and 5.9 rebounds for the Sky. She missed the team’s last two games while dealing with soreness in her left knee. The third-year pro had a season-high 25 points and seven rebounds in her last game, a win over New York on Aug. 20.

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The 6-foot-6 UConn grad came to the Sky from Dallas in February in a trade for Katie Lou Samuelson. Stevens was drafted with the sixth pick by the Wings in 2018. After a strong rookie season, she played in only nine games last year for Dallas due to a foot injury.

DeShields, also in her third year, was the Sky’s leading scorer last season but had been slowed this year while recovering from a knee injury. She played only two minutes in her last game against New York on Aug. 20 before leaving with a right thigh injury. DeShields, who averaged 16.2 points last year, was scoring only 6.8 this season.

Chicago (10-5) is in fifth place and played Seattle on Saturday. If either player wanted to return, they would face a quarantine period of up to a week to re-enter the bubble in Bradenton, Fla.

On Friday, the Sky traded Jantel Lavender, who is out for the season after surgery on a broken left foot in June, to the Indiana Fever for Stephanie Mavunga. The Sky also sent their second- and third-round picks in next year’s draft to the Fever.

Lavender won the Sixth Woman of the Year in 2016 and has averaged 8.7 points and 4.8 rebounds in her career.

Mavunga has played in only five games this season, missing the last eight with a facial injury. She averaged five points and four rebounds this season.