Tennessee leader Parker dislocates left shoulder
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Candace Parker dislocated her left shoulder in the first half of Tennessee's regional final against Texas A&M on Tuesday night.
The 6-foot-4 All-American had just stolen the ball and was dribbling up court in transition 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. She returned to the bench a minute later and checked in at the first chance she got, but then clutched it again while trying to deflect a pass by Texas A&M's La Toya Micheaux and went back to the locker room with 15.6 seconds left.
She was not with her team when it came out of the locker room after halftime, and team spokesman Debby Jennings said trainers were trying to restore strength to the shoulder.
Prior to the injury, she had scored Tennessee's previous 16 points.
"It's not good for us, certainly not good for Candace," Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt said. "We'll just see if we can support it at all at halftime. [Trainer] Jenny Moshak's the best in the business."
Parker returned to the bench with 14:19 remaining and checked back into the game at the 10:39 mark with the game tied.
Even with an injured shoulder, Parker was still able to lift Tennessee into another Final Four.
Parker scored 26 points and returned after dislocating her left shoulder to lead the Lady Vols out of a second-half deficit for a 53-45 win over Texas A&M.
She scored six of the Lady Vols' points in an 8-0 run as they overcame a 42-37 deficit, all while wearing a brace to stabilize her left shoulder.
She scored only eight points in the second half, but it was enough to push the Lady Vols (34-2) ahead when combined with a sturdy defensive effort that kept Texas A&M (29-8) scoreless for a five-minute stretch.
A two-time All-American, Parker hurt her right shoulder in Tennessee's second round game against Purdue but Jennings said she had not previously injured the left shoulder.
Summitt said earlier this week that she has not been having the Lady Vols' go full-court in practice to try to keep her team healthy.
Information from The Associated Press was used in the report.