May 8, 2024 

What Kamilla Cardoso’s preseason injury means for the Chicago Sky

Second-round draft pick Brynna Maxwell also sidelined with knee injury

CHICAGO — The Chicago Sky will begin the WNBA regular season without their highly anticipated rookie. Kamilla Cardoso suffered a shoulder injury in the team’s first preseason game and will miss four to six weeks, the organization announced. 

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The Sky’s 2024 draft class, which included Cardoso as the third overall pick, seemed to breathe new life into an organization that was forced to trade its franchise player, three-time All-Star Kahleah Copper, in the offseason. Cardoso was one of the most valuable assets the team received in dealing Copper to the Phoenix Mercury.

Now Cardoso will have to wait to make her official WNBA debut. 

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“Obviously you come into the W with high expectations of yourself and it feels like an injury can derail that, but at the end of the day, you’re going to get through it,” veteran center Elizabeth Williams told reporters after the injuries were announced. “Keeping them encouraged is the biggest thing.”

Fortunately, the Sky have no shortage of post players to fill in around Cardoso. Angel Reese’s preseason performance suggests she will be competing for a starting spot, and Williams, Isabelle Harrison and Brianna Turner will all likely see significant time. Williams is an All-Defensive Team center who has also hit double-digit scoring averages in four of her nine WNBA seasons. Harrison and Turner are both versatile and experienced forwards who will be playing in their first season with the Sky.

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Brynna Maxwell is also out with a knee injury

The Sky’s second-round draft pick, guard Brynna Maxwell, is sidelined with a knee injury and will miss three to four weeks. As a senior at Gonzaga, Maxwell averaged 27 points per game and shot 44% from three. The post-heavy Sky will need 3-point shooting off the bench this season. 

This leaves Sky leadership with some difficult decisions, as the team can only carry 12 of its 14 training camp players into the regular season. Head coach Teresa Weatherspoon and general manager Jeff Pagliocca, both new to their roles, will be finalizing their first WNBA roster next week.

The final roster spot will come down to Maxwell and two players signed to training camp contracts: Taya Reimer and Kysre Gondrezick. Gondrezick’s minutes were limited in the preseason, but she made a case for her ability to help stretch the floor, going 3-for-4 from deep against the New York Liberty. Reimer has been in concussion protocol and did not play in the preseason. 

Chennedy Carter, the third Sky player signed to a training camp contract, likely solidified her spot on the final roster with two impressive preseason performances. A former lottery pick from Texas A&M, Carter did not play in the WNBA last season and is still looking to find herself in the league.

The Sky begin the regular season against the Dallas Wings on May 15. 

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Written by Alissa Hirsh

Alissa Hirsh covers the Chicago Sky for The Next. She is also a high school basketball coach at her alma mater and is writing a memoir about the difficulty in leaving her college basketball career behind. Her hometown of Skokie, Illinois, is known for having the top bagel options in the Chicagoland area.

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