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Aces’ Jackie Young ruled out against Dallas Wings

Aces star Jackie Young has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against Dallas with a sprained right ankle, the Aces announced Saturday.

Young hurt her ankle as she headed for the rim early in the fourth quarter of the Aces’ 97-90 loss to the Connecticut Sun on Thursday. She made both free throws to score a season-high 26 points before leaving with the help of the team’s coaches.

Aces coach Becky Hammon hailed Young’s consistency and tenacity this season, and said there was a chance the 2019 No. 1 overall pick could return sooner rather than later.

“I imagine a week, but I could be wrong,” Hammon said as he prepared for Sunday’s 3 p.m. game against the Wings (6-4), who sit in second place in the ALC. West behind the Aces (9-2).

While Young won’t play anytime soon, point guard Chelsea Gray was not listed on the injury report despite suffering a blow to the jaw late in Thursday’s game.

Gray collided with Sun guard Natisha Hiedeman with less than three minutes remaining and was escorted to the locker room with a towel over his mouth. She received stitches after the match and did not return.

“She’s tough,” Hammon said. “She’s a competitor.”

Young and Gray were dressed for practice on Saturday. Young did not participate much, but did not wear a corset.

Hammon is grateful to have Gray already, but replacing Young won’t be easy. The former Notre Dame star was having a stellar season, leading the Aces in scoring (19.2 points per game) and leading in minutes played.

Young was also the team’s best perimeter defender, often tasked with guarding the opposition’s No. 1 scoring option.

“Nobody’s going to fill their shoes,” Hammon said. “If we can get two or three people to step up and be ready to play and be solid at both ends of the basketball court, that’s what we’re hoping for.”

The Aces have relied heavily on their starters all season and the team’s second unit hasn’t provided many goals. They may soon receive bench reinforcements.

Veteran sniper Riquna Williams was also ruled out against the Wings, expecting to miss her seventh straight game as she recovers from a sprained left foot. However, Williams was out of her boot and training on Saturday, meaning a return to the field could be on the horizon.

Williams has averaged nine points and two made 3s per game in two games played this season.

Contact journalist Andy Yamashita at [email protected] Follow @ANYamashita on Twitter.