Holdsclaw left Sparks on Sunday; return uncertain

Updated: May 19, 2006, 10:08 AM ET
ESPN.com

Chamique Holdsclaw has left the Los Angeles Sparks for undisclosed reasons, and there's no timetable for her return.

And right now, the Sparks -- who open the 2006 WNBA season at Seattle on Sunday -- are keeping mum.

The news, in fact, first broke on message boards Thursday after users were tipped off by a WNBA Fantasy Report on WNBA.com that read, "Holdsclaw recently left the Sparks for personal reasons, so you won't be choosing her this week."

The news was even more stunning as the report then said, "However, if she returns this season, she is one of the top [fantasy] players in both scoring and rebounding."

When Sparks public relations coordinator Ashley King was reached Thursday by ESPN.com columnist Mechelle Voepel, King wouldn't elaborate on Holdsclaw's absence, only confirming that the three-time All-Star had left the team Sunday. King also said Sparks coach Joe Bryant might have more specific comment in the upcoming days.

However, Seattle coach Anne Donovan told The Tacoma News Tribune that she is proceeding as if Holdsclaw will play in the team's season opener.

"My information is that [Holdsclaw's leave] is not permanent," Donovan said in Friday's News Tribune. "We're preparing as if [she'll play Sunday]."

Holdsclaw started her WNBA career in 1999, spending six seasons with the Washington Mystics. She left the Mystics 23 games into the 2004 season for "undisclosed personal reasons," and she later revealed to be suffering from depression. She was traded to Los Angeles prior to last season, then led the Sparks in scoring with 17.0 points per game, starting all 33 contests.

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