Sunday, October 28, 2007

Feeling better? Parker dunks in practice

Just two days removed from an x-ray on an injured right shoulder, Tennessee star Candace Parker felt good enough to dunk during the Lady Vols practice on Friday.

UT coach Pat Summitt was talking to Jenny Moshak, the Lady Vols associate athletics director for sports medicine, when Parker threw down during a shooting drill. Summitt recounted Moshak turned to her and matter-of-factly saying, “Her shoulder must be OK”

Must be. The only discomfort Parker was feeling was embarrassment.

“She came over and said, ‘I forgot,’ ” Summitt said. “We all started laughing.”

While Parker is feeling better, two other Lady Vols are not. Freshman Kelley Cain, who is recovering from a concussion suffered a week, did some conditioning work with Moshak and strength & conditioning coach Heather Mason, but then didn’t feel good enough to practice.

The downtime is amounted to valuable practice time lost for the 6-foot-6 center. Tennessee’s exhibition opener is Nov. 4 against the U.S. national team.

“The good thing is she’s smart,” Summitt said. “She has a good feel for the game. She seems to be a quick learner. It’s getting her behind physically.”

Senior wing player Alberta Auguste also remained sidelined with a right calf contusion. She’s listed as day to day.

Freshman Angie Bjorklund continues to perform well at both ends of the floor and is making a strong push for the lone opening in the starting lineup. Bjorklund arrived here with a strong offensive resume but Summitt said Bjorklund’s defensive play, “is pretty advanced for a freshman.”

“She’s a solid defender,’’ Summitt said, “because she’s light on her feet.”

For the time being, Summitt said that she’s inclined to use Alexis Hornbuckle more as a backup point guard and allow freshman Sydney Smallbone to get comfortable at off guard.

“I could tell Sydney had so much to think about,’’ Summitt said of working Smallbone at the point. “She just needs to go and play.”

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