The Sparks star exited the game in the first quarter.
The Los Angeles Sparks preseason got off to a rough start as former MVP Candace Parker suffered a hamstring injury in her left leg, ending her night after four minutes of playing time.
The Sparks were opening their preseason on the road against the Phoenix Mercury. The team held a 70-61 lead with 7:17 remaining in the game but failed to score for four and a half minutes, allowing Phoenix to take control with a 16-0 run and emerge with a 82-75 win.
However, the loss in a meaningless preseason contest is the least of Los Angeles’ worries if Parker’s health is in jeopardy. So far, Sparks PR was simply able to confirm that she had injured her hamstring and was out for the remainder of the game. It goes without saying that Parker’s absence leaves an enormous hole in the lineup, but just to be clear: she is one of the L.A.’s best creators, if not the best, particularly with Chelsea Gray still in Turkey. Parker is also the team’s best returning rebounder and rim protector, though those roles might change as she plays more outside the paint this season. All of this is in addition to her role as one of the Sparks’ leaders, both on and off the court.
It is unclear how long L.A.’s longest-tenured player will be out, but it at least affords the Sparks a chance to do some experimenting with their perimeter rotation.
More from Los Angeles Sparks
- Bet $5 on Sparks vs. Sky, Win $150 Instantly with Limited-Time DraftKings Promo
- Los Angeles Sparks name Curt Miller next head coach
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, November 2: Shakeup in the ACC with Bollin commit, UNC retool
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, September 14: Mystics are going dancing
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, September 10: Dream are (mathematically) stayin’ alive
Parker started the game at small forward in what figures to be her new position this season alongside Nneka Ogwumike at the four and center Rachel Hollivay, who was making her debut in the purple and gold. With Parker out, training camp signee Ashley Walker, who has been playing overseas since her last WNBA stint in 2013, got 25 minutes at forward. Second-year forward Karlie Samuelson also played 18 minutes, exceeding her total in any regular season game from 2018.
Los Angeles also had the opportunity to go small with some three-guard lineups. Starters Alexis Jones and Sydney Wiese each saw 27 minutes, while new additions Marina Mabrey, Loryn Goodwin, and Gabby Green all played double-digit minutes. Veterans Alana Beard and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt didn’t play, as the Sparks are seemingly gathering intel on the players on the roster bubble, but both could spend some time at small forward in Parker’s absence.
Los Angeles will have plenty of opportunities to go big with their current roster construction, and rookie and sophomore centers, respectively, Kalani Brown and Maria Vadeeva didn’t even take the court. But it will be interesting to see them downsize a bit without their 5-time All-Star, even if we hope to see Parker back on the floor as soon as possible.
Love our 24/7 women’s basketball coverage? Join our Patreon now and support this work, while getting extra goodies and subscriber-only content for yourself.