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Surviving Without Tony Parker
Posted By Yannis Koutroupis On March 2, 2013 @ 2:47 pm In NBA | No Comments
The San Antonio Spurs found out Saturday that they will be without their starting point guard Tony Parker for the next four weeks after he suffered a grade two sprained left ankle against the Sacramento Kings the day prior.
Parker has been the Spurs’ MVP this season, leading the team in points (21.0) and assists (7.6). At 46-14 they have the league’s best record. That could be in jeopardy, though. The Miami HEAT are two games back, the Oklahoma City Thunder are three games and the Los Angeles Clippers are 3 ½.
A four week recovery period projects Parker to be back sometime during the first week of April. That’s a four game week for the Spurs, so he will miss a minimum of 13 games it could end up being more like 15 or 16 before he’s actually ready to get back on the court.
The next few weeks are going to be tough for the Spurs. They’ve been able to win without Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, who have also had some injury issues of their own this season, but Parker will be much more difficult to replace. The backup point guard spot has been a weakness of the Spurs since they traded George Hill to the Indiana Pacers for a package centered around the draft rights for Kawhi Leonard.
Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has several options to choose from when trying to fill the void left by Parker’s absence. It will be done by committee as there’s no single person on their roster who can replace what Parker brings. Everyone, especially Duncan, Ginobili and Leonard will have to pick up their production if the Spurs are going to stay at the top of the league’s standings.
As far as where Parker’s minutes will go, Gary Neal, Patty Mills and Nando de Colo will compete for them. Neal is currently battling a tight left calf and is doubtful for Sunday’s contest against the Pistons. Ginobili can play point guard for stretches, which we could see a lot late in games since he is now the most capable ball handler on the team.
The Spurs wrap up the regular season on April 17, which should allow Parker about two weeks to get himself back into shape before the start of the playoffs. Being without your top player for a prolonged period at this point of the season is far from ideal, but the Spurs are lucky this is the extent of it.
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