For the second consecutive season, an injury has derailed Candace Parker. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)
Sparks star forward Candace Parker will miss approximately six weeks after suffering a torn lateral meniscus in her right knee in a game Sunday in New York.
An MRI on Monday in Los Angeles revealed the injury, which occurred during the third quarter of the Sparks' 77-67 loss to the Liberty after Parker grabbed a rebound.
The plan is for Parker, who was averaging 17.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists for the Sparks (4-3), to avoid surgery and simply undergo rehabilitation for at least six weeks. She received treatment for a torn lateral meniscus in her left knee last September.
"We look forward to Candace making a fuller recovery," Penny Toler, Sparks vice president and general manager, said in a statement.
Parker, the 2008 WNBA most valuable player and rookie of the year, collapsed on the court at the 5:56 mark in the third period Sunday after grabbing a defensive rebound and briefly making contact with the Liberty's Quanitra Hollingsworth.
Parker, a former Tennessee star, grabbed her right knee, limped to the locker room and did not return to the game.
"I appreciate all of the kind thoughts and prayers that have come my way in the last 24 hours. They have truly helped," she said in a statement. "I look forward to picking up where I left off and contending for a WNBA championship."
Parker has played in just 35 regular-season games the last two seasons because of injury and pregnancy. She missed the first month of the 2009 season after giving birth to her daughter and played in just 10 games last season after dislocating her left shoulder, which required surgery last June.
"We've played without her before, so we just have to focus on getting into the next game and playing hard and having people step up," Sparks Coach Jennifer Gillom told reporters after the New York game.
"She just said, 'Keep me in your prayers,' and that's all we can do for her right now and just hope for the best. She's in good spirits, which is a good thing."
The Sparks are on a seven-game road trip that continues Tuesday at Connecticut in a nationally televised game on ESPN2 that's scheduled for a 5 p.m. PDT tipoff.