Lauren Jackson wearing Nike Zoom Kobe IVJackson took the court for the first time since hip surgery in the Nike Zoom Kobe IV.

words // Brandon Richard

Winners of three of the last four WNBA MVP Awards, Lauren Jackson of the Seattle Storm and Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker both made highly anticipated returns to the court this past week. Jackson, a three-time WNBA MVP, missed her team’s last 20 games after being sidelined by hip surgery. Parker, the 2008 MVP and Rookie of the Year, missed the last seven weeks of action with a torn lateral meniscus in her right knee.

It was business as usual for Jackson when she took the court again in front of the Storm faithful on Saturday. With last year’s WNBA Champions struggling to find consistency in her absence, Lauren was brilliant in her return. Seattle had a hard time finding offense throughout the night, but Jackson’s leadership paved the way for them to pick up a pivotal win. She scored 20 points (including 10 in the 4th quarter) and grabbed 7 rebounds, both game highs, to help the Storm put away the New York Liberty 63-62.

Parker’s return, however, didn’t exactly turn out as expected. Tied at 79 with just over a minute remaining in the Sparks’ game against the Atlanta Dream on Tuesday, Parker was ejected with two technicals after arguing what she thought was a missed foul call. Her departure proved to be critical, as the Dream got the upper hand late in the game and put away the Sparks 84-79. On the plus side, Candace racked up her usual double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

With less than 10 games remaining in the WNBA regular season, the timing of these returns couldn’t have been better. Will these two league MVPs guide their teams into the postseason?

While we’re waiting for answers, take a look at some of the basketball shoes that hit the court this past week in today’s Sneaker Watch.

WNBA Sneaker Watch: Jackson & Parker Return

Becky Hammon wearing Nike Zoom Kobe VI; Tameka Johnson wearing Nike Air Max Soldier VBecky Hammon drives in the Nike Zoom Kobe VI; Tameka Johnson tries to seal off in the Nike Air Max Soldier V.

Marissa Coleman wearing the Under Armour Micro G FunkMarissa Coleman of the Washington Mystics dribbles in the new Under Armour Micro G Funk.

Sylvia Fowles wearing the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse 2011; Nicky Anosike wearing adidas adiZero Rose 1.5Sylvia Fowles posts up in a PE colorway of the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse 2011; Nicki Anosike defends in the adidas adiZero Rose 1.5.

Tina Charles wearing Nike Air Max Destiny; Angel McCoughtr wearing Nike Air Max Soldier VTina Charles and Angel McCoughtry battle for a loose ball, wearing Nike Air Max Destiny and Nike Air Max Soldier V PEs respectively.

Lindsey Harding and Kara Lawson wearing Nike Zoom Kobe VILindsey Harding and Kara Lawson square off in PE colorways of the Nike Zoom Kobe VI.

Candace Parker wearing adidas adiZero Crazy LightCandace Parker drives in a PE colorway of the adidas adiZero Crazy Light.

Maya Moore wearing Jordan Fly WadeMaya Moore tries to find an opening in her Jordan Fly Wade PE.

Plenette Pierson wearing adidas adiPurePlenette Pierson shoots in the adidas adiPure.

DeLisha Milton-Jones wearing Reebok Zig SlashDeLisha Milton-Jones attempts a layup in the Reebok Zig Slash.

Ketia Swanier wearing adidas Originals Roundhouse MidKetia Swanier makes a play in the adidas Originals Roundhouse Mid.

images via ESPN