Mercury has also suspended her contract, so he won't be back in 2022, even if the team makes the playoffs.

Heading into Thursday night's game, Phoenix is tied 14-20 overall in a four-way tie, with five teams competing for her, spot in the final two playoffs..

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The Los Angeles Sparks, who play Thursday, were eliminated. Phoenix finishes the season with the Dallas Wings on Friday and Chicago Sky on Sunday.

Since winning the franchise's second title in 2009, the Mercury have only missed the playoffs once in 2012.

But 2022 has been a very difficult year for Mercury under first-year head coach Vanessa Nygaard, starting with Russia's imprisonment of Brittney Griner in February.

Diggins Smith and Diana Taurasi faced off the bench in May and Tina Charles left the team in June. ..

Somehow, Mercury still has a shot in the playoffs.What does it take for Phoenix to survive the postseason and what does the future hold for Mercury and Diggins-Smith? Let's see.

How will Smith's absence from Diggins in her final two regular season games for Phoenix affect Mercury's playoff hopes?

Limited, Mercury took many of them. They won Saturday's New York game against Liberty without Taurasi or Diggins-Smith.

This was thanks to her performance in excellent defense that kept the Liberty at his 62 points and Diamonds  DeShields scoring her season-high 25 points

Mercury set career highs Wednesday with points from Shay Pedy and Megan Gustafson, but lost 86-77 to Minnesota. 

After the game, Gustafsson spoke about the importance of Mercury players continuing to encourage each other.

Her next two opponents, Wings and Sky, have already secured playoff berths, but both hope to be on high form heading into the postseason. 

Dallas won five in a row before losing to Liberty in Desperation Mode on Wednesday. Chicago has been one of the best teams in the league all season and defending champions. 

Mercury is 2-1 against Dallas and 2-0 against Sky this season. Diggins Smith has been one of the biggest threats in the league offensively this season as a goalscorer and playmaker.