Uncertainty Of New Parker Injury Hangs Over Spurs

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OKLAHOMA CITY – The San Antonio Spurs lost their grip on the West’s top seed Thursday night and potentially much more.

All-Star point guard Tony Parker couldn’t continue in the Spurs’ 100-88 loss to the Thunder due to an unspecified injury to his leg. Limping on his left leg in the locker room, Parker, playing well since recently coming back from a sprained left ankle, wouldn’t expound on this new injury, although a solemn coach Gregg Popovich seemed to be bracing for the worst.

“I’m really concerned about Tony right now after seeing his situation tonight where he just had to stop,” Popovich said. “My feeling is tendinitis, something in his shins or whatever, from the way it looked on the court. But I don’t know.

“I got to see what’s going on. I got to see what the deal is. We thought he had just kind of recovered from his ankle, so this was something new tonight with his leg. I just don’t know what it is right now.”

Popovich yanked the sluggish Parker for good after he noticed him limping through a two-plus-minute stint early in the fourth quarter, leaving crunch-time duty to rookie Nando De Colo. Parker played 26 total minutes, just 10 in the second half, and finished 1-for-6 from the floor for a season-low two points that snapped a 56-game streak of scoring in double figures.

Thursday’s game was just his seventh back from the sprained ankle and he’s been playing through the remnants of a bone bruise in the ankle among other nagging injuries. He scored 25 points with five assists Monday night at Memphis and sat out Wednesday’s game against Orlando, listed on the injury report with a sore left ankle.

“I just have to get healthy,” Parker said. “I’m not going to talk about all my stuff. I’ve got a lot of stuff going on. I just have to get healthy. OKC, give them a lot of credit. They just beat us tonight.”

Pressed if he’s experienced similar pain before, Parker reiterated: “I just have to get healthy. I’m not going to give you any other answers than that.”

Asked if he believes if he will be able to return quickly or if rest at this late stage of the season is needed, Parker answered: “We’ll see. I’ll talk with the medical staff, talk with Pop and try to make the best decision to make sure I’m 100 percent and healthy for the playoffs. That’s the most important thing.”

The Spurs are already without irreplaceable sixth man Manu Ginobili (hamstring) possibly into the first round of the playoffs, and forward Stephen Jackson on Thursday had an MRI on his sprained right ankle. The results were not known and there is no timetable for his return.

As short-handed as the Spurs were Thursday, and playing inside the Thunder’s raucous den and against a youthful team that had been resting since last playing on Saturday, a game with wild swings was in doubt until the final two minutes. San Antonio, led by Kawhi Leonard‘s 24-point, 14-rebound effort in 42 minutes, and Tim Duncan‘s 24 points and 11 rebounds, continually rallied from poor starts to open the first, third and fourth quarters.

Playing a fourth game in five nights, the Spurs trailed by as many as 2o in the first half, but went into halftime trailing 52-44. The Thunder bolted to a 19-point lead in the third, yet saw that trimmed to 77-71 to start the fourth quarter. And finally, a quick 14-point bulge, with Derek Fisher dropping his fifth 3-pointer of the game early in the fourth, was cut to seven in two minutes before the Thunder, which limited the Spurs to 39.8 percent shooting, iced it late.

Fisher, mired in a miserable shooting slump, came off the bench and hit his first four 3-point attempts, including two in a row late in the first quarter to extend a 21-18 lead to 29-18. He finished with 17 points in a balanced Thunder attack in which Russell Westbrook led all scorers with 27 points, plus seven assists and seven rebounds. Kevin Durant had 25 and Serge Ibaka (11 rebounds, three blocks) and Thabo Sefolosha each had 11.

“That hurt us, big time,” Duncan said of Fisher’s hot hand. “You can game plan for everything, but you get somebody to get off like that, it’s something you don’t count on. All in all, we did a good job on all the rest of the guys. He just got away from us.”

The Thunder win leaves them one-half game behind the Spurs in the standings, but tied in the loss column. The teams split the four-game season series and OKC has the inside track for the tiebreaker with a two-game lead over San Antonio in terms of record against the West.

“They’ve had it a little easier than us health-wise and we’re still right in the mix,” Duncan said. “However many games left, we’ll see how it plays out. Hopefully we can see them again in the playoffs.”

The Thunder have a tough road ahead. They left town after the game for Friday’s matchup at Indiana and then they’ll return home for a Sunday matinee against the sizzling New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony, who has gained ground on Durant in the chase for the scoring title.

The Spurs now limp back to San Antonio for their final six games and unsure of who they’ll have in uniform for Saturday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks.

“Everybody has problems during the year, you just hate to have them here at the end,” Popovich said. “So, to have those two guys [Parker and Ginobili] in that situation now is really disappointing. But, you move on. Life is tough.”

20 Comments

  1. dink says:

    lol can’t wait for the nba finals when the spurs SPANK the heat in 5

  2. He was fine in the game, I didn’t get to watch all of the game so I’m going to watch it right now

  3. Chris says:

    The I injuries to star players on just about Every team that isn’t Miami or OKC is disheartening. I don’t want to see any player go down, not even on the team I don’t like. Really don’t wanna see a team at full strength run over another plagued by injuries

  4. Neutral Fan says:

    Realise its contentious but if Parker’s layoff is extended, wouldn’t be surprised if Spurs don’t make it out of the first round. The injury would leave a lot of weight on Duncan’s 36 year old legs. He is an amazing player but battling with Howard/ Gasol or the Rockets young forwards may be a step too far. Leonard will have to continue to play well. How Splitter fairs will be key..

  5. habitusforknicks says:

    Full strength Spurs is a clearly better team than OKC. Spurs are very efficient offensively and they are much better this year than the last year defensively (last year was a combination of superb games by some OKC role players and critical ref helps were the reason they beat Spurs anyway). If Heat gets to the finals, healthy Spurs have a very good chance to win against them. OKC will definitely lose again in the Finals, given that Heat are a better team this year and OKC are worse. Denver, if they were healthy they would have a better shot against the Heat than OKC.
    I believe the league wanted a OKC-Heat final last year, which happened. This year, obviously they want the Lakers in the playoffs, they want Heat in the finals (league I think badly wanted the streak to continue as well, Orlando game was when streak should have ended if officiating was fair for example) but I don’t think officiating will be like the last year this year Spurs will get their chances and if healthy they will beat Heat. By the way it is incredible how much injuries will determine the outcome this year. Boston is effectively eliminated because of season ending injuries to Rondo, Sullinger, and Barbosa, in addition to significant time lost by Garnett, Bradley, Lee etc…Lakers are a mess not only the 3 of the 4 main guys but they lost important players like Artest, Jordan Hill etc. Both last year and this year teams that do not get injured seem to be the winners (Heat and OKC).

    • bullsfan0218 says:

      Stop hating on the refs. Obviously they get some calls wrong sometimes thats to be expected but they aren’t fixing games in any one teams favour. Superstars are going to get calls maybe other players wouldn’t sometimes but thats how its always been. The Spurs lost to OKC last year 4 games in a row and the Thunder earned those wins and their trip to the finals

  6. benitez34 says:

    First of all, I don’t think Miami is coming out of the East. Call me crazy, but watch for a pretty upset in the second round. And finally…why would Laker fans be happy? Instead of the older-slower Spurs they will get the faster-younger team that knows how to beat them already. It will be interesting.

    • ypacuba says:

      There is no hate on that comment at all. Miami Heat don’t have a rival on this league at the moment.

  7. Lakers Fan says:

    Spurs should be okay as they have a great system. The Spurs is a living testimony to prove that you don’t need star power to win, team work and good chemistry does.

    • STUPID says:

      Maybe not. Lakers should worry because they might face OKC in the first round. But whoever faces them who cares, LAL will still lose. If there is a fix going to happen, OKC can adjust to it. They wont let the fix ruin them they are greedy and desperate to come back to Finals

    • spurs! says:

      why would they celebrate? if parker out the spurs will be the number 2 seed when playoff comes. its not over who will be the number 8 spot.

    • 7little says:

      more like rockets fans :) lakers (if they make it) will play OKC in first round

  8. AAA says:

    Get healthy Tony , Need to see the spurs-heat matchup for the championship .

  9. Willy says:

    He is alright don’t worry all part of the strategy man. Keep going steady Spurs. Sometimes the shots don’t fall, like today.

    • Lakers Heat says:

      Pop’s Playoffs strategy. He’s trying to avoid wasting so much energy playing the Lakers in the first round so he leaves that to the Thunder. Sometimes it’s not about what seed you’re holding or home court advantage, it’s how u get to the finals that allow you to have plenty of energy left to win it all. The Thunder is still young, maybe they don’t mind spending extra energy playing the Lakers, or maybe they dont have enough playoff experience to realize that every lil bit contributes and counts toward winning it all.

      • bullsfan0218 says:

        I dont think anyone can say for sure what Pops strategy is, but I can say pretty confidently that losing games to try and get a lower seed isnt it. Thats just silly to even say. The Spurs have championship hopes this year and I dont think theyre scared of facing the lakers

      • Oakley34BLAM says:

        Considering the pace at which the #7 Rockets play vs the banged up and aging Lakers I could see the #2 seed having to run a lot more in the first round than the #1…if the Lakers even make it.