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Candace Parker will have shoulder surgery and is out for the season

June 17, 2010 |  9:37 pm

Candace Parker, the WNBA's rookie of the year and most valuable player in 2008, will have surgery on her dislocated left shoulder and will be out for the season, dealing a devastating blow to the struggling Sparks.

A Sparks spokeswoman said Thursday night that the surgery will be scheduled "in the next few weeks."  Parker, who is expected to be out for four to six months, was not immediately available for comment.

She had taken herself out of Sunday's game against the Minnesota Lynx, holding her arm and clearly in pain after pulling down a defensive rebound late in the second quarter.

"We can't replace Candace," Sparks co-owner Kathy Goodman told The Times Thursday night. "Nobody can."

The 24-year-old star out of the University of Tennessee has worn a brace on the shoulder her entire WNBA career, having initially injured it in the regional final of the 2008 NCAA tournament against Texas A&M.

After sealing back-to-back championships for the Lady Vols, the All-American was the No. 1 draft pick by the Sparks and immediately went to work -- helping to carry the Sparks to the playoffs that season, working alongside three-time league MVP Lisa Leslie.

This season Parker had been leading the league in scoring and in rebounding before re-injuring the shoulder last Friday against the Seattle Storm, and again on Sunday. An MRI test was done on Wednesday.

Her teammates found out that they will be without Parker Thursday afternoon, a day before they will face the Connecticut Sun, who are in second place in the Eastern Conference, in at the Staples Center.

“I don’t think they’re going to mope too long,” new coach Jennifer Gillom said. “They don’t have time for that.”

--Melissa Rohlin