LOS ANGELES — Candace Parker is returning to action for the Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday when they host the Phoenix Mercury.
The team said on Friday that last season's WNBA MVP and rookie of the year will be in the lineup for the first time since giving birth to her daughter on May 13.
Parker, who played college ball for Tennessee, was cleared by doctors to begin practicing Tuesday. She has not played at all this season.
"I feel like I'm really beginning to get my rhythm back," Parker said. "This was a great week of practice, and it felt good to be with my teammates on the court. I'm not expecting to play 30 minutes, but I definitely can't wait to get back out on the floor."
Last season, Parker started all 33 games she played in, led the league in rebounding and led all rookies in scoring and rebounding.
"After watching her practice this week, it looks like she can play some minutes," coach Michael Cooper said. "It's a huge addition for us and a big game for her to come back. Obviously, she isn't 100 percent and we will take things slowly, but clearly Candace, even at less than 100 percent, is an incredible player."
Parker's return couldn't come at a better time for the Sparks, who were the preseason favorites to win the WNBA title.
Lisa Leslie has been sidelined since suffering a right knee sprain against Phoenix on June 19. The Sparks (3-5) are next-to-last in the Western Conference and have yet to win a road game, although they are undefeated at Staples Center.