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More bad news: Sparks still unavailable

Jarrett Sparks received the news he didn't want hear on Wednesday.

Merced's star receiver was not cleared to play on Friday against Stockton St. Mary's in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs.

After missing last week's game against Modesto Grace Davis with mononucleosis, Sparks underwent an ultrasound test on Tuesday.

On Wednesday he was told his spleen is still swollen.

"I felt like I could play," Sparks said. "But they were worried about me taking a big hit and rupturing my spleen.

"I had gotten my hopes up. Sitting on the sideline and watching is the worst."

Merced coach Rob Scheidt had obviously hoped to have Sparks back this week.

The 6-foot-3 senior leads Merced with 42 catches for 949 yards and 14 touchdowns.

"I don't think it's going to change anything because we've practiced like we'd be without him," Scheidt said.

"Obviously we lose a playmaker and the dynamics he brings. We're in the same spot we were last week."

It was a roller coaster week for Sparks.

On Sunday he didn't even think he'd get an opportunity to see a doctor.

His mom was in favor of erring on the side of caution.

He went and had blood work done on Monday and then the ultrasound on Tuesday.

Sparks felt there was a good chance he'd be back in uniform.

"On Sunday we heard he wasn't going to play," Scheidt said. "We heard something different on Monday and now it looks like we're back to square one and rightfully so.

"If there's any risk for him, we wouldn't want him to be playing."

Shawn Jansen is a Sun-Star sports reporter. He can be reached at 385-2462 or via e-mail at