Parker hits treadmill; Ginobili encouraged

Tony Parker is nearly halfway through his scheduled four-week absence from the San Antonio Spurs because of his sprained left ankle.

But the sight of Parker running on a treadmill is enough to make one teammate feel encouraged.

“We need Tony back as soon as possible, but at the same time, feeling good,” Manu Ginobili said, according to the San Antonio Express-News. “We can’t have him limping or not being him. So it’s great to see him running already, and we are counting the days.”

The Spurs are 2-1 since Parker went down with the injury.

Parker injured the ankle late in the third quarter on March 1 against the Sacramento Kings when he landed wrong on his left foot after completing a reverse layup. Parker had to be helped off the court and did not return to the game.

Parker underwent an MRI the next morning in San Antonio, and the injury was revealed to be a Grade 2 left ankle sprain. An estimate of four weeks was put on how long Parker would be out of action.

The Spurs need Parker back as soon as possible as they fight to keep the No. 1 playoff seed in the Western Conference.

“The team knew that even though we won the first two without him, it didn’t mean anything,” Ginobili said. “That’s usually what happens when you have a player down: Other players step up, and there’s the emotion. But in the long term it is going to hurt you.”