Report cites conflict between player, Adams

Updated: September 10, 2004, 11:17 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

WASHINGTON -- Chamique Holdsclaw will not return to the Washington Mystics this season because of what is officially an undisclosed medical problem.

Unofficially, The Washington Times has said her problem is an extreme dislike for coach Michael Adams, while The Washington Post says that's not it at all.

Holdsclaw has missed six straight games, and seven of the last eight. The Mystics forward has steadfastly refused to discuss the reason for her absence, other than to rule out cancer, pregnancy and drug addiction.

Chamique Holdsclaw
Stuck near the bottom of the East, the Mystics will have to carry on without their best player.

On Wednesday, in a statement issued by the team, Holdsclaw said her condition is not life-threatening or career-threatening.

"Regrettably, I will not be returning to play for the remainder of the WNBA season," the statement read.

"I understand that many have called on me to further explain why I am not able to play. However, for reasons that are deeply personal, I find myself unable to provide a more detailed explanation at this time. I just do not yet feel comfortable addressing this publicly."

On Thursday, the Times, citing WNBA sources, reported that there is a conflict between Holdsclaw and Adams, who is in his first year as coach of the Mystics, that is so strong that one of them is sure to leave following the season.

On Friday, the Post reported that players and officials went out of their way to refute the Times' report.

Team president Susan O'Malley's statement reiterated that Holdsclaw is out with "a personal medical issue" and personnel consultant Pat Summitt, Holdsclaw's college coach at Tennessee, said that the reported rift with Adams is "completely false."

Forward Murriel Page, who has played five seasons with Holdsclaw, said that she is one of a few people with whom Holdsclaw has shared what is wrong. "I have to respect her privacy but I can say it's definitely not because of any fight [with Adams]," Page said.

As for Holdsclaw, in her statement Wednesday, she said, "I recognize that the limited information that I have shared has resulted in a great deal of speculation ... I do want to assure you that my circumstances are not life-threatening or even career-threatening. But, right now, my focus is on getting to the point where I feel able to play again."

Holdsclaw ranked second in scoring when she failed to show up for a game against Charlotte on July 24. She played in the next game, against Detroit as a reserve, and has not suited up since. She was placed on the injured list Sept. 1.

Holdsclaw was averaging 19 points per game. She opted out of the U.S. national team for the Athens Olympics, and missed the WNBA All-Star Game.

Following a 71-59 victory over New York Thursday, Washington was 14-16 and fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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