NEW YORK -- Atlanta Dream center Erika de Souza will replace injured Eastern Conference All-Star Elena Delle Donne of the Chicago Sky in the WNBA All-Star Game, league officials announced Friday.
Delle Donne, the No. 2 pick in the draft, was injured in the Chicago Sky's loss to Washington on Wednesday when she was going for a loose ball with a minute left in the third quarter.
"It's unfortunate that I am unable to be a part of All-Star weekend," Delle Donne said. "I was very excited to join the other players for a memorable experience. It's upsetting not only for me but also for the fans who voted for me. The most important thing for me at this time is to rest and recover for the second half of the season."
Delle Donne, who is averaging 18.2 points a game, is the first rookie to lead the All-Star voting. Top draft pick Brittney Griner also won't play but will attend the league's showcase game this weekend at Mohegan Sun Arena. Griner is still recovering from a sprained left knee and was replaced on the roster by veteran Tina Thompson on Thursday.
WNBA President Laurel J. Richie selected de Souza as Delle Donne's replacement for the East squad. Eastern Conference head coach Lin Dunn will select a player to start in place of Delle Donne.
For the 31-year old de Souza, this marks her second WNBA All-Star Game appearance. The native of Brazil previously participated in the 2009 All-Star event. The eight-year veteran's seven double-doubles are tied for third in the WNBA, and she ranks fifth in the league in both rebounding (9.1 rpg) and blocks (1.81 bpg).
The Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star Game will be nationally broadcast on Saturday (2:30 p.m. ABC) from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
• Associated Press contributed to this report.