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Nneka Ogwumike back with Sparks after mystery illness

August 2, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) — Nneka Oguwmike is happy to be playing again.

The Los Angeles Sparks star missed the last three games before the All-Star break because of a mystery illness that she described as flu-like with extreme fatigue.

“I’m feeling better now. The doctor attributed it to fatigue,” Ogwumike said in a phone interview Wednesday night. “It wasn’t a direct diagnosis. He had a lot to say about my recovery time and it not being as long as I’m used to. That compromised my immune system. It wasn’t fun. Rest was the key.”

Ogwumike practiced the last few days and said she expects to play Thursday night against Minnesota. The Sparks went 1-2 without their star, who is averaging 16.1 points and 7.4 rebounds this season.

WNBA teams are playing a compact schedule this season because of the FIBA women’s basketball world cup in September. The regular season schedule is 19 days shorter than last year. The Sparks were coming off a stretch of seven games in 15 days before Ogwumike went out.

“That didn’t help I guess that’s kind of what the doctor was telling me,” Ogwumike said of the tight schedule. “He follows our games. The limited amount of rest and turnover wasn’t helping my body. My creatinine levels were low.”

The illness prevented Ogwumike from playing in the All-Star game with sister Chiney, who plays for the Connecticut Sun.

“That was the most painful part,” she said. “It was the one time that I get to play with Chiney. It was tough. I told her I can’t make it up to you by passing you the ball at a game and taking a turnover. That opportunity was lost.”

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