Candace Parker sprains ligament in finger

Lady Vols freshman forward Candace Parker missed practice Tuesday to get her finger X-rayed. She was back before practice ended with a big smile on her face.

An examination by team physician Dr. Rebecca Morgan revealed a ligament tear but no break in the index finger of Parker's left (non-shooting) hand. Jenny Moshak, the assistant athletics director for sports medicine, said after practice Tuesday that Parker was cleared to play.

"The finger is not broken," Moshak said. "She has a medial collateral ligament sprain. She has a good deal amount of swelling in there. Dr. Morgan looked at her this morning so the great news is that it is not broken. She's going to see our hand specialist (later this morning), and he's going to help us devise even a more protective type of splinting for her, but she's going to be able to play."

The sprain, or tear (same thing in medical terms), occurred during the Stanford game Sunday when Candace Parker deflected a ball off her finger. The impact caused the ball to carom off the rim. Parker stayed in the game after getting some quick sideline treatment.

"Obviously she was tough in the game, didn't want to come out," coach Pat Summitt said Tuesday, who added her availability to play Wednesday against George Washington was a relief. "Just played through the pain."

Parker joins three Tennessee teammates who have sustained hand injuries this season. Alexis Hornbuckle, Tye'sha Fluker and Shanna Zolman have hurt their thumb, index and ring fingers respectively.

"I'll take those over other things any day," Moshak said.

Last year the team was besieged with knee injuries. There was one tense moment in practice Tuesday when freshman Lindsey Moss went down during a non-contact shooting drill with a few minutes left in the session.

"She stepped backwards, and the foot stuck and the knee felt funny," Moshak said. "She didn't feel a pop so that's a good sign, but I want everything to calm down, and then I'll look at it again."

The tweak occurred to her right knee. Her left knee was severely injured in high school (ACL). She also slightly hyperextended the left knee in a Nov. 10 exhibition game.

"I want to ice and reevaluate," Moshak said of Moss' right knee.

"I didn't see it (happen)," Summitt said. "The good thing is she was walking."

So far the Lady Vols have been wounded, but not knocked out. They are 7-0, now ranked No. 1 in both polls and trying to remain undefeated in the young season before taking a break for final exams.

Moshak said Hornbuckle, who injured the thumb ligament on her left hand (non-shooting) on Oct. 17, will have her splint removed next week and will just be taped. Fluker, who fractured the index finger on her right hand (shooting) on Nov. 1, has the injury "resolved for the most part," said Moshak, who added she'll keep taping it for a couple of weeks. Zolman, who dislocated the ring finger on her left hand (non-shooting) on Nov. 12, "is going to be taped for awhile," Moshak said.

Parker was the first one to injure her hand in a game. The other players' mishaps all came in practice.

Moshak said the splint will protect Parker's finger while it heals, which will take about two weeks.

"We just have to protect it so that the ligament can scar down and heal, and we'll do rehab to get rid of the swelling and keep full range of motion and build strength later," Moshak said.

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