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Summitt believes Parker will be ready for LSU

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

By BETH RUCKER

Associated Press Writer

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- With LSU up next and Tennessee star Candace Parker stinging from a shoulder injury, the Lady Volunteers appear to have a lot of hard work to do.

Coach Pat Summitt has other plans before the national semifinals Sunday.

"I think rest is what we need," said Summitt, who will be making her 18th appearance in the Final Four. "We need our legs, and we need to be mentally sharp as well. Less is more in this situation."

Summitt said she feels really good about Parker's chances of playing in Tennessee's third game this season against the Lady Tigers, who won the regular-season meeting between the teams. Tennessee (34-2) beat LSU (31-5) for the Southeastern Conference tournament championship.

Still, Summitt is taking few chances of further injuring her two-time All-American or wearing out any of her other players before then. The Lady Vols had Wednesday off and planned only a light practice for Thursday before traveling to Tampa.

Parker twice left Tennessee's 53-45 win over Texas A&M in the Oklahoma City Regional final Tuesday night with pain in her left shoulder.

Parker dislocated her shoulder in the first half as the 6-foot-4 forward stole the ball and was dribbling up court, but returned to the game quickly after being attended to by a trainer.

She grabbed her arm minutes later after trying to deflect a pass and went to the locker room with 15.6 seconds left. She returned wearing a shoulder sleeve with 10:39 in the second half.

A team spokeswoman said Wednesday that Parker's shoulder was being treated symptomatically, but declined to say what symptoms were being treated other than to say her shoulder was sore.

There's no doubt Tennessee needs Parker healthy to play LSU. Parker scored 28 points in the Tennessee's title win over LSU and 26 points to help bail the Lady Vols out of their second-half deficit against Texas A&M.

Summitt said she talked with both Parker and team trainer Jenny Moshak earlier in the day and thinks Parker will be ready to play by Sunday.

"She said she was sore, but you expected that," Summitt said. "The good thing for Candace is she's so strong. She works so hard in the weight room."

Parker teased Summitt after the Hall of Fame coach dislocated her own shoulder days before the SEC championship while shooing a raccoon away from her Labrador Retriever at home.

Summitt knew exactly what had happened to Parker when she saw he grab her arm, but decided to keep the teasing to herself.

"I didn't have to play," Summitt said, chuckling. "She's dealing with it well. It amazes me the fact that she did what she could in that game."



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