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Parker is ‘day to day’ after suffering minor ankle sprain

At the team’s video shoot, the boot on Parker’s left ankle was the only thing keeping her from moving freely. She was not using crutches and didn’t appear to be in any pain.

Chicago Sky v Washington Mystics
Candace Parker, pictured at a May 15 game at Washington, is expected to play in the Chicago Sky home opener.
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

From Section 106 of Wintrust Arena on Friday night, Candace Parker heaved a trick shot with a boot on her left ankle.

Both attempts largely missed the basket, but Parker laughed, enjoying her new home arena.

Parker hopes to make her highly anticipated home debut Sunday against the Liberty (noon, ESPN). After suffering an injured left ankle in the shootaround before the game Wednesday against the Dream, her debut might have to wait.

“Right now she’s day-to-day,” coach and general manager James Wade said. “We’re trying to keep her off her ankle and just do mobility stuff outside of practice. We’ll see where she’s at tomorrow, but today she was better than she was yesterday.”

The Sky described Parker’s injury as a minor sprain. Team staff said Parker came down on the ankle awkwardly and she has been resting it out of an abundance of caution.

At the team’s video shoot, the boot on Parker’s ankle was the only thing keeping her from moving freely. She wasn’t using crutches and didn’t appear to be in any pain. She practiced with the team Saturday morning.

The Sky’s home opener will be in front of a sellout crowd of 1,257. That’s the most seats available according to guidelines by the city of Chicago and the WNBA. It includes court-side seats and seats on the 100 and 200 levels.

Rookie point guard Shyla Heal will make her Sky debut. She said it’s going to be special to play her first WNBA minutes in the team’s first home game in front of fans in over a year.

Heal took part in her first team workout Friday after going through the league’s -COVID-19 protocol. She has impressed Wade, though practice Saturday was tough for her. Veteran guards Courtney Vandersloot, Diamond DeShields and Kahleah Copper drilled her.

“When you match up against Sloot, Kah and Diamond, they aren’t going to make it easy on the young ones,” Wade said. “There’s beauty in the struggle.”

The Liberty (3-1) are coming off a 29-point loss to the Mystics on Friday. Guarding Sabrina Ionescu, the league’s season assist leader, is going to be the Sky’s biggest challenge. Wade said she’s unguardable, so the focus is on making her uncomfortable.

Betnijah Laney, who spent her first two seasons in the WNBA with the Sky (2-0), is off to a red-hot start. She’s third in the league in scoring with 22.5 points per game. The Liberty are averaging 80.3 points and the Sky 77.5.

Against the Dream, the Sky had nine turnovers at the half and finished with 24. Their 20-point lead was cut to one in the fourth quarter.

The players said it was a learning experience that showed them what they’re capable of with their backs against the wall. Against a better team, though, the game likely would have gotten out of hand.

Sky players have been looking forward to welcoming fans back to Wintrust Arena since playing in the bubble last season. They said there’s no fear regarding COVID-19 and being in a less controlled environment.

Azura Stevens is listed as probable with a foot injury, but Wade said she’ll play. Allie Quigley is still out with a hamstring injury.