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By MIKE LIPKA, STATS Writer

The Chicago Sky were hoping to build their future around Sylvia Fowles, the LSU star whom they selected with the No. 2 overall pick in this year's draft.

Unfortunately for Chicago, she won't be around for the next four to six weeks.

The visiting Sky will be without their injured rookie for the first time on Friday when they begin a home-and-home series with the winless Atlanta Dream.

Fowles injured her knee in a collision with Los Angeles Sparks forward DeLisha Milton-Jones in the third quarter of Tuesday's game, but the team initially didn't seem concerned.

On Wednesday, however, they announced that she suffered a sprained knee. While Fowles won't need surgery, she will miss at least a month.

The 6-foot-6 center - who was recently named to the U.S. Olympic team - had only four points on Tuesday before the injury, but she had notched double-doubles in the previous two games. She's averaging 10.8 points and 7.6 rebounds this season.

Even without Fowles, the Sky (1-4) erased a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit against Los Angeles, but still lost 81-77 in overtime. It was Chicago's third straight defeat, but the losses have come by a combined 12 points, and the Sky haven't dropped a game by more than six points this season.

The Dream (0-5) have been getting closer to the first win in their inaugural season. After losing their first three games by double digits, their last two defeats have come by six or fewer points, including Tuesday's 85-81 loss to Minnesota.

Betty Lennox led the way with 28 points for Atlanta, which shot 69 percent from the field in the second half. Lennox, who's averaging a career-high 19.8 points, had 29 in an 80-74 loss at Washington in the Dream's previous game.

Atlanta is also playing without an injured starter, as 6-foot-5 forward Erika de Souza suffered a stress fracture to her lower leg in the loss at Washington. De Souza is averaging 11.0 points and 9.0 rebounds.

"We have a young team that will continue to get better," Atlanta coach Marynell Meadors said. "We haven't experienced a lot of challenges, but we will learn as the season continues."

The Sky can relate. They won their first game in franchise history in 2006, but then lost their next 13 en route to a 5-29 season. They were 14-20 last year.

After Friday's game, the teams meet again Saturday night in Chicago. They're also slated to face off twice more by July 13, meaning the Dream may not see Fowles in any of the four matchups this season.

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