Jonquel Jones to skip WNBA season, citing COVID-19 concerns

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Twice WNBA All-Star Jonquel Jones has decided to opt out of the upcoming season, citing concerns over the novel coronavirus.

The WNBA is set to hold its 2020 season at a single site in Florida in a fanless setting with health and safety protocols in place, holding 22 regular season games followed by a traditional playoff format and best-of-five series for the semis and finals.

Florida is among the U.S. states that saw a record spike in new COVID-19 cases last week, and positive tests among players prompted the closure of some MLB and NHL facilities in the state, denting hopes for the return of professional sports in North America.

“This was one of the toughest decisions I’ve made,” said 26-year-old center Jones, who last season helped take the Connecticut Sun to its first Finals since 2005. “The resurgence and unknown aspects of COVID-19 have raised serious health concerns that I do not feel comfortable competing in.”

The Sun said it supported Jones, who led the league in total rebounds and blocks last year.

Atlanta Dream guard Renee Montgomery had already said she would sit out the season to focus on social justice reform after the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody.

Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Ken Ferris