Sparks rookie starter Cameron Brink suffers torn ACL, expected to miss season

Sparks rookie star Cameron Brink tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee during the team’s loss to the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday, a serious blow for a squad that was relying heavily on young talent.

The Sparks announced the injury but did not share further details, including any plans for treatment. The injury typically ends a basketball player’s season and requires a nine- to 10-month recovery period, although some professional athletes have returned to play more quickly.

Brink, the No. 2 overall draft pick out of Stanford, entered the Connecticut road game averaging 8.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.5 blocks a game in her first season for the Sparks. She’s tied with A’ja Wilson for the second-most blocks in the WNBA. Brink was coming off a 16-point performance against the Atlanta Dream on Sunday.

Brink misstepped while driving against Brionna Jones early in the first quarter of Tuesday’s loss and was carried off the court. The Sparks turned to 6-foot-7 Li Yueru, and the second-year center had one of the best games of her young career with 11 points, shooting five for six, plus two rebounds and two assists.

“Except for the 2019 season, I’ve lost a starter to injury every single year I’ve been a head coach in this league,” Sparks coach Curt Miller told reporters Tuesday after the game. “You just have to have the mentality of next person up and rally around it.”

Brink was named to the U.S. 3×3 team for the Paris Olympics and will have to be replaced on the roster.

The Sparks head to New York to play two games against the Liberty on Thursday and Saturday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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