Mixed messages after Layshia Clarendon waived by Lynx

2022 WNBA Pre-Season - Las Vegas Aces v Minnesota Lynx
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After Layshia Clarendon was waived by the Minnesota Lynx on Tuesday, head coach Cheryl Reeve implied Clarendon’s injury status was to blame. Clarendon, who was limited at the end of last season by a stress fracture in their right fibula, rehabbed the injury during the WNBA offseason.

“Our thinking was I have a point guard who can’t be in every rep and has to be modified and, you know, at the drop of a hat, might have some soreness or things like that,” Reeve told the Star Tribune on Tuesday. “It doesn’t feel like the right thing to do to start the season. Would I love to have Lay back at some point? Absolutely.”

But on Wednesday, Clarendon had a somewhat different message, tweeting that they are “100% cleared to play and practice. I’m feeling strong and ready to play!”

Clarendon said something similar during Lynx Media Day on April 21st.

“I’m coming in (in) really good shape, especially coming off my leg injury. But I’m not worried about my leg. My trainer’s been awesome, I’ve come back over the last month or so, doing full court running and cutting and everything.”

Less than a week later, though, Clarendon was on the injury list for the Lynx’s first preseason game against the Washington Mystics. After that game, which the Lynx lost, Reeve said it was a precautionary decision.

“That’s a challenging situation, we’ve just got to make sure we’re doing the right things here,” Reeve said, noting that Clarendon had also sat out of practice the day before.

Clarendon played in last Sunday’s preseason win against the Las Vegas Aces, spending nine minutes on the court.

There is, of course, a difference between being cleared to play and being at full strength. And that difference can be especially cruel in the WNBA due to the league’s roster limits. While each WNBA team can have 12 players, most teams – including the Lynx – will have 11 players this season due to the hard salary cap limit. The salary cap can also make veteran players – with their higher salaries – harder to fit onto a roster.

It is possible that Clarendon — or any of the other players the Lynx waived on Tuesday — could be resigned by the Lynx on Thursday. According to the Star Tribune, the team applied for two hardship spots as three of the team’s 11 players are currently unavailable (Damiris Dantas is injured, Kayla McBride is overseas, and Napheesa Collier is pregnant and due later this month). It’s also possible the Lynx will sign players released from a different WNBA team.

“We’ve got a prioritized list of players that have been waived and are currently available, players that have just recently been waived and are in the midst of their waiting period, their waiver period,” Reeve said on Wednesday. “Just being ready to move, like all the teams in the league.”

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Follow Alex Azzi on Twitter @AlexAzziNBC