Monday, November 24, 2008

Parker to Return Friday?

Last week, Tony Parker told French radio station RMC that his ankle was recovering quickly and his return to the court could come as soon as this week. Today, we learn through RMC that he could return as early as Friday against Memphis.

If this is the case, the Spurs will be pretty close to full strength (although still without intriguing upstart Ian Mahinmi, who discouragingly layed an egg in Austin's last preseason game) in the coming weeks. I say close to full strength because Ginobili and Parker not only need to get their legs under them, but need to recover their lungs as well. This will take time.

A few weeks ago I wrote that
As an organization the Spurs, and Popovich in particular, typically err on the side of caution. Just earlier this month, George Hill set an additional two games after being cleared to play by doctors following a thumb injury. Pop likes to play it safe. He cautiously manages the minutes of his healthy players and drags his heals to appease the pleas of those returning from injury. Firmly entrenched in his coaching philosophy is the belief that in order to win a championship a team needs to peak during the playoffs and its players, especially its best players, need to be healthy when doing so. This is not rocket science. But it means that Popovich would rather have those two things and an 8 seed than only one of two and a 4 seed.
In addition to alerting the French press about his tentative return date, Parker also alerted them to the fact that he has had seven injuries to his left ankle, including the current one. He has now missed a stretch of games in consecutive seasons because of this ankle, and, I won't lie, it makes me nervous. Just as with Ginobili, I hope the Spurs continue to exhibit caution in their deliberations.

Thankfully for the Spurs they have Roger Mason and George Hill. Each of whom are playing well enough that Ginobili and Parker can ease into the rotation, or be pulled out of it, as circumstances demand. Neither player should have to play excessively heavy minutes until the playoffs. This of course provides the fringe benefit of the continued development of Mason and Hill. It's a win-win.

Now, if they could just grab a rebound...

At any rate, the Spurs are 6-6 with a bullet.

(HT: Kace from SpursTalk, who gives us yet another reason to love the French.)

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