Holdsclaw (foot) likely to play in West finals

Updated: August 23, 2006, 6:14 PM ET
By Miki Turner | Special to ESPN.com

LOS ANGELES -- Though Chamique Holdsclaw didn't step on the court in the Sparks' Game 3 victory over Seattle on Tuesday, coach Joe Bryant said the Los Angeles forward was healthy enough to play.

"She could have played some quality minutes," Bryant said following Tuesday's series-clinching win.

Holdsclaw, who is battling plantar fasciitis in her foot, remains a game-day decision for Thursday, when the Sparks travel to Sacramento for Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

"I still say she's better on one leg than most of the players in the league," Bryant said Tuesday. "That's not a slap to the other players in the league, it's a compliment to her knowledge of the game. … I always tell her that we care more about her as a person. Play it by ear and see if we can gut it out."

Holdsclaw, who averaged 15.0 points and 6.1 rebounds per game in 25 regular-season appearances, started for the first time all season in Game 1 of the first round, but played just two minutes in Game 2.

Bryant concedes that his team has missed Holdsclaw in close games.

"What makes her so special is that down the stretch -- when we've been kind of stagnated offensively -- she creates on her own," he said. "So that's where [her absence] hurts us. If we had her in the game, we're probably up nine or 10 points because she's able to create off the dribble and do some things."

Miki Turner, a freelance TV producer and writer in Los Angeles, is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com. She can be reached at dmiki@aol.com.

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