San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker has faced another injury in his professional career, as the player is dealing with ankle injury days before the NBA Finals between his team and the defending champions Miami Heat.
Parker had to miss the second half of the Western Conference finals-clinching win over Oklahoma City on Saturday because of a sore left ankle. The team’s coach Gregg Popovich doesn’t know what shape Parker will be in for Game 1 on Thursday in San Antonio.
”I have no idea,” he said Saturday night. ”I don’t know what the deal is.”
Although, it’s known that Parker did not sustain this injury in Game 6. In fact, Parker has dealt with several minor injuries of late, to the point where team staff wasn’t initially sure what was causing him pain.
The Spurs originally thought it could be a problem with his left hamstring before focusing on the ankle. Parker has been uncomfortable for two days and was not certain to play in Game 6 at all.
“He came to me about eight minutes on the clock (before the second half) and said he couldn’t go,” Popovich said. “He couldn’t cut. He was limping on it. He couldn’t cut sideways or forward really.”
Parker, who missed 14 games in the regular season, played 19 first-half minutes and scored eight points before Popovich decided to keep him on the bench for the second half after the ankle stiffened up.
“I didn’t want him to be a hero because he was 50 percent or less, we thought,” Popovich said. “That’s probably bad for the team if you think about it. It was a tough decision to try to figure out whether to play him, and if you lose the game and it affects him for Monday night, then you’re going to feel like you made an unwise choice.”
However, according to NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, Parker is “should be ready to play” for Game 1 of the best-of-seven championship series.
Parker will have enough time to rest the ankle until the opening game on Thursday. If he can’t get the clearance for Game 1, back-up point guards Patty Mills and Cory Joseph will try to fill the void. Even veteran swingman Manu Ginobili played the 1-spot against OKC after Parker went down.
”We didn’t know how much Tony was hurt in his ankle,” forward Boris Diaw said. ”But we didn’t want to go to Game 7, and we didn’t know if he would be ready to play if we did or if he would be 100 percent, so we tried to get it over with tonight.”
Still, the Spurs have proven all season they can win without key players, posting the NBA’s best record despite a series of injuries, reports USA Today. The Spurs said they excel without their stars because they are about a system, rather than individuals.
“We have been doing what we did the whole year, which is passing the ball to each other, getting some movement, getting pace and getting into a good rhythm,” Diaw said. “Always trying to set up a good shot for a teammate.”