Candace Parker unlikely to play this season

Freshman forward Candace Parker likely will not play this season after she was unable to participate in any full-court drills Monday at practice. <p> Parker felt some irritation in her left knee during a half-court defensive drill and spent the remainder of practice doing rehab exercises and icing her knee.

"I think she had some irritation with the defensive stuff so we just pulled her," coach Pat Summitt said. "If it (the knee) starts talking to her, then that means it's time to rest. That's not a good sign."

Summitt said she will still stick to her original plan of letting Parker practice for two weeks - this is the second week - before making a final decision.

"We will just because we pretty much said that's what we would do," said Summitt, who agreed Parker's chances of playing this season appear highly doubtful.

Candace Parker had knee surgery in September and has been trying to come back this season. It now appears she will have to take a redshirt year, thus joining freshman forward Alex Fuller, who had knee surgery in October.

There was a scary moment in practice when Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood went down after running sprints at the end of practice. She was near the endline and trying to make her time when a few of her teammates - who had lined up in support - jumped on the court with her and gave Wiley-Gatewood a little shove to help her over the line.

It's something that has occurred before at practice to help a player struggling at the end, and the player sails over the line without incident. On occasion a player not having to run has jumped in to pace a teammate and help pull her through or given a push at the end. But in this case Wiley-Gatewood's momentum carried her into the basket support.

Her left knee struck the corner of the support, and she went down screaming and clutching her knee.

"They pushed her, and her knee went flat against the back stop," Summitt said. "It was painful. Trust me, they won't be pushing her anymore."

Summitt rushed to the endline, where assistant coach Holly Warlick, who was standing nearby at the time of the collision, told her what happened.

"Holly came over and said 'I saw it. She banged her knee,' " said Summitt, who was immediately relieved to learn her freshman guard wasn't seriously injured.

After staying on the floor for several minutes, Wiley-Gatewood was able to walk under her own power and later plopped down in a chair for some rehab. She was understandably still rattled after the incident, though.

"I was already a little sore, and it was hard for me to turn, to recover when I touched the lines" during the sprints, Wiley-Gatewood said. "My teammates were trying to help me get over the line before the clock ran out, and my knee twisted while they were pushing me. It hurt so bad. It scared me so bad. Jenny (Moshak) said it's all right. I was scared, so scared. I'm still shaking."

There were more bumps and bruises Monday. Alexis Hornbuckle tweaked her left hamstring during practice, and although it's sore, she is expected to be OK. She wasn't cleared to return to practice and instead got some courtside rehab. Tye'sha Fluker and Loree Moore had breathing difficulties. Fluker's condition was related to conditioning after missing more than a week because of a death in her family. Moore's condition was brought on because she is still recovering from a broken nose.

The team will take off Tuesday and return to the practice court Wednesday to get ready for Thursday's game against South Carolina.


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