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Sparks' Lisa Leslie expected to miss at least six games with sprained right knee

June 21, 2009 | 12:07 pm

Sparks' center Lisa Leslie will miss at least the next six games because of a severe sprained right knee, according to the team's director of public relations, Alayne Ingram. That includes tonight's game at 6:30 pm against the Sacramento Monarchs at Staples Center.

Leslie will also miss at least the following games: the Sparks' away game against the Seattle Storm (June 26), their home game against Seattle (June 28), their home game against Phoenix (July 5), their away game against the New York Liberty (July 9) and their away game against the Washington Mystics (July 11).

Leslie had a bruised right hip and a right knee sprain against Phoenix on Friday, and the team originally thought the knee injury wasn't serious.

"Obviously, we care and feel for her, but we have got to go on without her, and luckily our next game is at home,” Sparks Coach Michael Cooper told reporters after the Sparks' 89-80 loss to the Mercury.

Team trainers then evaluated Leslie Saturday and found the injury to be more detrimental. According to Ingram, Cooper hasn't decided how he'll adjust his lineup, calling it a "game-time decision." She said that Leslie's return could fluctuate based on progress or setbacks with her recovery.

Leslie already was playing with a jammed right thumb she suffered during the early days of training camp. Just last week against Indiana, she decided not to have her thumb taped because she felt it hindered her shot.

Although the double teams opened up the floor, Detroit limited Leslie to six points on 3-of-11 shooting in the season opener. She scored eight points two days later against the Shock and went 4-of-11 from the field. But without a taped thumb, Leslie scored 21 points and shot 7-of-10 from field-goal range against the Fever.

-- Mark Medina