Candace Parker will undergo intense rehabilitation to her dislocated left shoulder over the next four days in hopes of playing Tennessee's Final Four game against LSU on Sunday.
"We've just got to assess the level of damage, if there is any that occurred, and then from there, get to the rehabilitation like crazy so she can make it through the next 10 days,'' team trainer Jenny Moshak told The Tennessean. "It's ugly to look at. Basically, she had a bone sticking out."
Parker dislocated her left shoulder in the first half of Tennessee's 53-43 win over Texas A&M on Tuesday night. The 6-foot-4 All-American had just stolen the ball and was dribbling upcourt when she curled to the side and stopped. A team trainer met her on the court and escorted her to the locker room with 3:50 remaining in the first half.
Parker returned to the bench a minute later and checked in at the first opportunity, but then clutched the shoulder again while trying to deflect a pass by A&M's La Toya Micheaux. Parker returned to the locker room with 15.6 seconds left, returned for the second half, and was able to play the final 10:39 with a sleeve on her shoulder.
Moshak told The Tennessean that the second dislocation was caused by the force of the ball when Parker tried to intercept it.
"She was in contact with the ball and then there was the force of the movement,'' Moshak told the newspaper. "Basically, she was putting the shoulder in a vulnerable position."
Parker said she's confident she can play against LSU.
"I'll be OK," Parker told The Tennessean. "I'm definitely going to rehab, get the strength back in it. I'm like Gumby. I'm loose and it works to my advantage sometimes."
A two-time All-American, Parker hurt her right shoulder in Tennessee's second-round NCAA tournament game against Purdue, but team spokesperson Debby Jennings said she had not previously injured the left shoulder.
"It surprised me because it was the other one that I hurt before," Parker told The Tennessean, "but the other one hasn't really popped out like that and stayed out."
Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt dislocated her shoulder last month while chasing a raccoon.
"I hit the raccoon a couple of weeks ago and dislocated my shoulder, so as soon as I saw Candace, I knew it was out,'' Summitt told the paper. "Obviously, when I saw it go out again that really, really concerned me."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.