Candace Watch

The Candace Watch will offer the latest news and reports on the return of reigning WNBA MVP and Rookie of the Year Candace Parker from maternity leave. Check back as we chronicle Parker's return to the court with interviews, photos and video as well.

Candace Parker returned to practice on June 30.
Juan O'Campo/NBAE/Getty Images

Photos and Video
Candace Parker First Practice (6/30/09)
Parker WNBA Career Highlights
Parker at March for Babies
Mothers in the WNBA

Comeback Kid: Practice footage and interviews
Parker Interview Following First Practice (6/30/09)
Parker Anticipates Motherhood
Parker Exceeds the Hype
Parker Named Most Valuable Player
Parker Named Rookie of the Year
All Access with Candace Parker at the WNBA Draft

Follow Candace on Twitter

Friday, July 3 - Season Debut on Sunday

The Sparks annouced on Friday, that Parker will make her 2009 season debut on Sunday, July 5 when the Sparks host the Phoenix Mercury. You can watch the game on NBA TV at 9:30 p.m. ET.

Candace sent the following tweet about an hour after the annoucement was made:

Super excited to be playing Sunday. Make that debut at home! :)

Thursday, July 2 - More from first practice

In addition to Tuesday's one-on-one interview, we now have more highlights and interviews from Candace's first practice with the Sparks on Tuesday. Check out the video below.

Video: Comeback Kid
More Photos

Tuesday, June 30 - Talking 'bout practice

We sat down with Candace for a one-on-one interview following her first practice with the Sparks. Click the link below to watch.

Complete Coverage of Candace's First Practice
Video: One-on-One Interview
Photo Gallery

Later in the evening Candace also sent out the following tweets about her first day back.

"k so 2day was great! We had a light practice, Just a lot of shooting nd stuff. Then after we went to this comm. service and met halle berry!"

"Tomorrow's practice will be a gage of where I am at more so than today so i definitely need to get my rest tonight!"

Tuesday, June 30 - Back to practice

Candace let the world know via Twitter that she is back for her first practice with the Sparks today. In Candace's words:

"i'm bbbbaaaaacccccckkkkkkk!! headed to first practice!"

Candace's message is reminiscent of the "I'm Back" press release issued by Michael Jordan to announce his return to the NBA from his first retirement on March 18, 1995. Perhaps Parker - a Chicago Bulls fan that grew up in nearby Naperville, IL - is paying homage to His Airness with her tweet.

Wednesday, June 24 - Return within six weeks

The Los Angeles Times reports that Parker says she'll return to action within six weeks

Sparks forward Candace Parker said today she would return from her maternity leave in up to six weeks. She also said she planned on practicing within two weeks.

"We're going to play it by ear," Parker said. "Practice, see how my wind is, things like that. Obviously I'm not going to be able to come back and play 30 minutes. Hopefully I can come back and contribute a little bit."

If six weeks is right, Parker would return to the Sparks' lineup July 29, when they play at Chicago. The Sparks, however, play only one home game in July, against the Phoenix Mercury on July 5, making it likely that the WNBA's most valuable player and rookie of the year last season would make her debut on the road.

Monday, June 22 - Working on timetable

On Monday, Candace tweeted the following message to her followers:

"just at sparks practice. met wit my g.m. and coach bout timetable for returning. july is lookn pretty good."

Sunday, June 21 - Halftime interview

For those of you that watched the Sparks-Monarchs game last night you may have seen a halftime interview with Candace Parker, where she talked about what she is doing to work her way back to the court as well as when fans can expect to see her back in a Sparks uniform.

If you you would like to watch the interview, check out the LiveAccess archive and fast forward to the one hour and 11 minute mark. I have also transcribed the interview here if you just want to read the quotes.

On when she will come back
"I have a meeting with Coop [head coach Michael Cooper] and Penny [general manager Penny Toler] tomorrow about that and just going to try to take my time and get back. Probably July; mid-July is when I'm looking at."

On staying in shape while pregnant
"I worked out three days until i delivered Lailaa. I didn't want to blow up at the end. I was getting stir crazy being an athlete. it really helped out and i think its going to be good for my comeback."

On what she can do right now
"I got cleared to start jogging, and obviously do a lot of cardio, start shooting and I've obviously taken that a step further and probably do more than I'm supposed to. But I'm stir crazy, I have to get back to playing basketball."