Spurs suffer setback with Parker injury

The best team in the Western Conference suffered an injury blow on Friday night when San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker left their game against the Sacramento Kings after spraining his left ankle.

Parker injured the ankle late in the third quarter while landing after completing a reverse layup.  Parker had to be helped off the court and did not return to the game.

After the game, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich told the San Antonio Express-News that the injury was serious and that the team is prepared to be without Parker for awhile.

“He’ll be out a while,” Popovich told the newspaper after the game. “It’s a good one. Tony’s been pretty stalwart for us. He’s having an All-Star season, and as I said, I think playing better than any other point guard in the league consistently throughout the year. We’ll definitely miss him.”

Parker has been arguably the best point guard in the NBA this season.  Parker is averaging 17.1 points and 7.6 assists per game, the second-highest season averages of his career in both categories, while leading the Spurs to an NBA-best 46-14 record.

It just so happens that Parker also leads the Spurs in scoring and assists this season.  If Parker misses substantial time, the Spurs’ quest to hold off Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Clippers for the No. 1 seed in the West just became more difficult.

“Obviously it’s a huge loss,” Tim Duncan told the San Antonio Express-News after the game. “He’s been our leader all year long. But we’ve played with all kinds of different people this year. We’re going to rally.”

The Spurs are good at rallying together when one of their own goes down. Earlier this season, the Spurs lost Manu Ginobili to a strained hamstring.  San Antonio would go on to win 10 straight.

“It is worrying,” Manu Ginobili told the newspaper. “We
need him. We really need him.”

And after Parker left Friday night’s game, his teammates were already picking up the slack.  Ginobili dished out 15 assists in the Spurs’ 130-102 win over the Kings.

No timetable has been set yet on how long Parker will be out of action.

The Spurs finished Friday night with a 2-1/2 game lead over Oklahoma City for the top spot in the Western Conference.