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Major League Pickleball

Injuries Cause Substitutions Ahead of MLP Washington, D.C.

by Erik Tice on

Major League Pickleball will be taking over the Washington Tennis and Education Foundation (WTEF) East Campus starting Thursday, but not everyone will be participating.

Two substitutions reportedly will be in the mix in D.C. While MLP won't release the full list of participants until Wednesday, Jimmy Miller (President of the Black Bears) announced on his podcast Tuesday that the following two changes would be taking place for MLP Washington D.C.

  • Premier Level - Texas Ranchers replace Christian Alshon with Quang Duong

On May 28th, Alshon posted on X:

He didn’t play in PPA Sacramento either. Whatever the medical reason is, Alshon isn’t going to be ready for MLP Washington D.C.

Major League Pickleball Announces Game Play Updates Ahead of MLP Washington D.C.
Major League Pickleball announced some rule changes ahead of MLP Washington D.C. next week, including teams must once again win on their serve.

The Ranchers had a couple of different options as it related to replacing an injured player:

  • Pick up a loanee from a Challenger Level team not playing in D.C. OR
  • Pick up a player who is currently not on an MLP team, aka free agent

The Ranchers chose to go the free agent route and signed Quang Duong. The young phenom has never played Major League Pickleball. He obviously has all the talent needed to excel at the highest level, but he lacks experience in doubles. 

This is a high-risk, high-reward pickup. Duong’s ceiling is fairly high, but his floor is lower than almost every other player in the Premier Level.

  • Challenger Level - California Black Bears replace DJ Young with Spencer Smith

DJ Young apparently injured his wrist last weekend at PPA Sacramento according to Miller. 

The Black Bears basically had the same options as the Ranchers:

  • Pick up a loanee from a Challenger Level team not playing in D.C. OR
  • Pick up a player who is currently not on an MLP team, aka free agent

I think it would be harder to convince one Challenger Level team to loan a player to another Challenger Level team, so the Black Bears also went out and signed a free agent in Smith.

Smith has played in MLP before, as he was drafted to the Las Vegas Night Owls (Challenger Level) in the third round last year.

This is an easy pick to make for the Black Bears – when you need someone to help in a pinch, you go with someone you know. Smith has been playing pickleball for a very long time and is an OG in the Utah pickleball scene.

Also, just to add to the spicy meter, since Smith is playing with the Black Bears, he will be facing off against the Brooklyn Aces and Daniel De La Rosa. Last year in Atlanta, things got HEATED between Smith and DDLR.

  • Challenger Level - Pat Smith of the Florida Smash is still dealing with an injury related to ball striking him in the eye and has been placed on IR. Yates Johnson will be replacing him.
Erik Tice

Erik Tice

Erik produces content for The Dink related to pro and collegiate pickleball. He is an avid watcher of pickleball and became passionate about the sport in early 2022.

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