It’s not like the Spurs could plausibly deny that their mounting injury issues are a concern, but with Tony Parker re-aggravating a badly sprained ankle, with Manu Ginobili out with a hamstring injury, with Tim Duncan healthy (but 37 years old), the Spurs don’t have much choice but to confess their consternation.
Some are doing it better than others.
“It’s a concern, especially at this part of the season,” Duncan told the San Antonio Express News. “It’s part of the game. We’ve got to play through it.”
Parker, who scored just two points and was on the bench most of the fourth quarter of San Antonio’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night, remained tight-lipped afterward, even though coach Gregg Popovich said he pulled Parker after he saw him limping.
“I just have to get healthy,” Parker told the paper. “I’m not going to give you any other answers than that.”
This was San Antonio’s biggest fear. All season, Popovich has been managing his older players’ time on the floor, trying to avoid exactly the situation the Spurs are experiencing right now. The Spurs caught a $250,000 fine after Popovich held out some key players in a game against the Miami Heat earlier this season. This is a man who once submitted a “DNP — OLD” when Duncan didn’t play. The Spurs are old, and they know they’re old and they’re just trying to do the best they can to stretch this thing out as long as possible. The whole point was to have this roster rested and healthy at the end of the season, and now look at it.
To make it worse, the Spurs, who had the best record in the NBA, are suddenly losing. They’ve lost four of their last seven games and now appear destined to give up the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.
“We want to be healthy more than anything,” Duncan said. “With health will come that momentum.”