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PRO BASKETBALL

Candace Parker returns to tonight

She will play limited minutes in her first game since having a baby.

July 05, 2009|Mark Medina

VS. PHOENIX

Time: 6:30.

Where: Staples Center.

On the air: Prime Ticket.

Records: Sparks 3-5, Mercury 7-4.

Record vs. Mercury (2009): 0-1.

Update: Sparks forward Candace Parker will play an undetermined number of minutes off the bench tonight, after last year's most valuable player missed training camp and the first eight games of the season while on maternity leave. Doctors cleared her to fully practice since Tuesday. "I had circled that date as a return in my head as a goal of mine," Parker said. "It feels good, I'll be able to dress and be back. I had a solid week of practice." The Sparks are 3-0 at home, and have won two of their last three games despite the absence of center Lisa Leslie, who sprained her right knee June 19 against Phoenix and isn't expecting to return until July 22 against Seattle. It remains unclear whether Mercury guard Diana Taurasi, second in the league at 21.2 points a game, will play. The league hasn't ruled on any disciplinary action, and Taurasi, cited for drunk driving Thursday night, declined to say whether she's playing. The Mercury averages a league-leading 90.6 points a game.

-- Mark Medina

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