Delle Donne played through 3 herniated discs to lead Mystics to title
Maddie Meyer / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Elena Delle Donne's health was a growing concern throughout the Washington Mystics' 2019 title run, and her condition became more severe than she or her team indicated.

"I'm about to drop this bomb on y'all," Mystics guard Natasha Cloud said during the WNBA Finals Game 5 postgame press conference on Thursday. "Elena not only has one herniated disc, she has three."

"The medical staff is going to kill you right now," Delle Donne quipped in response.

Delle Donne, the regular-season MVP for her starring role in the high-powered Mystics offense, suffered the injuries in Game 2 of the Finals, exiting just three minutes into the contest.

Between Games 3 and 5 versus the Connecticut Sun, the 30-year-old forward fought through the pain to average 15 points, five rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in 31 minutes per game. That includes 21 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks during the title-clinching tilt.

"It's so important," Cloud continued, "because when you're talking about playing for the players to the left and to right of you and being a leader on this team, being a captain and pushing through to win us a championship, that's a huge testament to her and Ariel (Atkins, who also played through an injury) in this last series.

"So again: thank you Delle."

Delle Donne played through 3 herniated discs to lead Mystics to title
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