The Los Angeles Sparks suffered a major blow this week when it was announced that rookie center Cameron Brink had suffered an ACL injury. The injury occurred early in the first quarter of the Sparks' loss to the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday when Brink collided with Brionna Jones going to the basket. Sparks head coach Curt Miller spoke at length about the injury for the first time prior to the team's game against the New York Liberty on Thursday.

Miller mentioned that it's not just Brink's on court play that the team is going to miss. She's been popular amongst her Sparks teammates so far.

“Obviously a devastating circumstance with the injury. I think you heard some of the players immediately talk about Cam's presence on the floor as one thing,” Miller said. “But she has a positive vibe and presence about her on a daily basis that brings joy and uplifts our team. Certainly something that we will miss.”

Cameron Brink was the No. 2 overall pick by the Sparks in the 2024 WNBA Draft and had been making an immediate impact before the injury. She was slotted in right away as the team's starting center. While her offense was still a work in progress, her impact on the defensive end was among the best in the league.

“I thought she was off to a tremendous start. I think we all saw the impact she was having and can continue to have at the defensive end,” Miller said. “You look at some of the deep analytics on how she was protecting the rim, altering shots, blocking shots, affecting our defensive presence around the basket was just outstanding and comparable to a lot of people who eventually were Defensive Players of the Year in this league.”

Cameron Brink's injury leaves Sparks thin in frontcourt

Phoenix Mercury guard Natasha Cloud (0) puts a shot up against Los Angeles Sparks forward Rickea Jackson (2) during the second quarter on Sunday, June 2, 2024, at Footprint Center in Phoenix.
Michael Chow/The Republic/USA TODAY NETWORK

The absence of Cameron Brink leaves the Sparks with few options up front. Brink had been starting alongside Dearica Hamby in the frontcourt. With Azurá Stevens also out due to an arm injury, the Sparks only other true big is second-year center Li Yueru.

With Brink sidelined, Yueru got the start at center against the Liberty on Thursday. Yueru in the starting lineup means the Sparks don't have a real backup big. Stephanie Talbot, who is capable of playing small-ball power forward, will likely see extended minutes for the remainder of the season.

Curt Miller also suggested that fellow rookie Rickea Jackson could see extended minutes at power forward to help alleviate the frontcourt injuries. Jackson has been playing her natural small forward position but has already played the four since Stevens has been out.

“Rickea has been a part of the unintended consequences since day one. The April disappointing news of Azurá Stevens, a serious injury, had her come into camp with a lot of reps at the four position and play a very larger percentage at the four than the three,” Miller said. “As we got into some games after the initial knowing she was going to have to provide us some depth without Azur in the post, we've really morphed into Rickea playing primarily a large percentage at the three.”

“She's been able to settle in there and settle into our starting lineup and her minutes and her production at the three position has been outstanding. Unintended consequence now, now she has to probably play some more minutes back at the four. Will be great to show her versatility, will get her different types of looks, but also it puts her back in the best position in the world of who is around the league.”