Mystics center Tina Charles granted medical exemption

6:31 PM ET


CloseMechelle Voepel covers the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and other college sports for espnW. Voepel began covering women’s basketball in 1984, and has been with ESPN since 1996.

Washington Mystics center Tina Charles announced Friday she has been granted a medical exemption for extrinsic asthma and won’t play this WNBA season. The exemption was granted by an independent medical panel agreed upon by the WNBA and the players’ union.

By receiving an exemption, Charles will receive her full salary for this season. This would have been Charles’ first season with Washington after being traded on April 15 from New York.

Another player for the Mystics, 2019 WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne, also applied for a medical exemption because of the effects of Lyme disease, but was denied. Delle Donne is still not expected to play this season, despite not getting the exemption, although she has yet to make an official announcement. Washington agreed to pay the two-time MVP’s salary even if she doesn’t play.

The Mystics also have two players from last year’s championship team who opted not to play this season in guard Natasha Cloud and post player LaToya Sanders.

“While we are disappointed that Tina will not be with us this summer, we fully understand the reason for her medical exemption and look forward to having her with us next season,” Mystics head coach and general manager Mike Thibault said in a statement. “Again, the health of our players takes precedence. There hasn’t been anything normal about playing this season, but we are prepared and excited to play with the group that is here in Florida.”

The WNBA will begin a 22-game regular season at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, on July 25.

Charles, the 2012 WNBA MVP, was dealt to Washington from New York in a three-team deal that also involved Dallas. This will be the first WNBA season she has missed since being drafted No. 1 out of UConn by the Connecticut Sun in 2010. She played four seasons with the Sun, and then was traded before the 2014 season to New York. She spent the last six seasons with the Liberty.

Charles, 31, has averaged 18.1 points in her WNBA career, and was signed to a one-year deal for $175,000 by the Liberty before she was traded to Washington.

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