The San Antonio Spurs are limping down the stretch, and the 100-88 loss to Oklahoma City Thursday night was just the tip of the iceberg.
Parker appeared to have hurt his leg against the Thunder, which explains his 1-for-6 shooting night and finishing with just two points. The Spurs are saying Parker has a shin injury, but there may be a lot more to this latest setback. Parker is already nursing a bad ankle, and the shin injury may be the result of having to compensate for the bad ankle.
“I’ve got a lot of stuff going on, but I just have to get healthy. It’s no excuse. I just have to get healthy,” Parker told the Associated Press.
Spurs coach noticed Parker limping throughout the game and had no choice but to pull the plug on his MVP candidate.
“‘When he started out, it looked like he had no energy to start the game and then as he went, he looked to me like he was limping,” Popovich said. ”And then (at the) start of the second half, we saw him coming across half-court actually limping one time, and that’s when we pulled him and I said to him, ‘Tony, you got to stop.”’
San Antonio was already playing without sixth man Manu Ginobili (hamstring), who could miss the rest of the regular season, and fellow reserve Stephen Jackson (ankle). This is bad news for the Spurs because there are no easy outs in the Western Conference, and all these mounting injuries could put the Spurs out in the first round and alter the entire playoff picture.
Tim Duncan may be the heart of the Spurs and Parker is the engine that drives them, but the key to each of the Spurs’ championship seasons has always been and will always will be Ginobili. When he’s healthy, the Argentine provides the Spurs a lot of energy on the court and when he’s got it going he’s nearly unstoppable, especially down the stretch as he’s one of the best closers in the game.
Ginobili, who is currently out 3-4 weeks with a strained right hamstring, has been bitten by the injury bug in each of the last two seasons. He has seen his scoring average dip from 17.4 in 2010-11 to 11.9 in 2012-13 — the lowest of his career since his rookie season in 2002-03.
”Obviously, Tony’s down, Manu’s down, so it’s a concern, especially in this part of the season,” Duncan said. ”But it’s part of the game, so we’ve got to play through it and we’ve got to find a way to score points.”
Duncan has been forced to carry the load offensively lately, and the big man has delivered. Duncan is enjoying his best season statistically (17.4 points, 10 rebounds, 2.6 blocks) in four years, and you could argue he deserves a spot on the All-NBA first team with LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, and Chris Paul.