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Leslie could return from childbirth in August

May 18, 2007|Jerry Crowe | Times Staff Writer

Sparks center Lisa Leslie, due to give birth to a daughter next month and expected to sit out the WNBA season, said Thursday that she might return in August.

"I know my heart and what I want to do," the three-time WNBA most valuable player said, adding that she and husband Michael Lockwood would name their daughter Lauren.

"But I'll also have a baby and I don't know what she's going to need. So, we'll see....

"The Sparks are leaving the door open. I have no idea what this experience is going to be like. I guess people who have children would be able to tell me better, but I have no idea what to expect."

Teammate Taj McWilliams-Franklin, a mother of two, predicted that Leslie, who turns 35 in July, could easily return this season.

"I had my daughter and was playing and running four days later," McWilliams-Franklin said of the birth of her younger daughter in January 2003, noting that a month after giving birth she scored 32 points and pulled down 22 rebounds in a Spanish league game despite being more than 70 pounds overweight.

Added McWilliams-Franklin: "I definitely think it's doable. A top athlete having a baby? That's the easiest childbirth there is....

"I know she loves being pregnant, but she has that competitive fire and she wants to be out there competing and helping us win a championship. Any advice I can give her, I'm going to give it to her. I want her out there."

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jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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