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Parker hoping to return soon for Spurs

Tony Parker expects to return to the floor before the end of the regular season

Tony Parker expects to return to the floor before the end of the regular season, the San Antonio Spurs guard said on his radio show.


Parker suffered a grade 2 ankle sprain March 1, and was expected to be out four weeks.


"I started to use it Sunday," Parker said. "It's going much better. I run all right at the moment, but I do not change direction. I hope to return soon. I no longer use crutches. I want to go back to 100 percent. It will be just before the playoffs."


The playoffs begin April 20, which would be more like seven weeks than four, but there is no reason for Parker to rush back. The Spurs, who have been playing with Cory Joseph at point guard, still own the NBA's best record and on Tuesday beat the Oklahoma City Thunder to keep the Western Conference's No. 2 team at arm's length.


A fully healthy Parker will be critical for the Spurs' championship aspirations. Parker averages 21 points and seven assists per game while shooting 53 percent from the field and operating San Antonio's nearly flawless offense.