San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker will miss the rest of the playoffs after injuring his left leg during Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets.
The Spurs said Thursday that Parker will need surgery to repair a torn left thigh muscle.
One of coach Gregg Popovich’s top priorities in the final weeks of the regular season was making sure the Spurs’ veteran point guard was healthy and in rhythm for the playoff push.
More than seeding or home-court advantage, Popovich believed the Spurs needed Parker in order to stay competitive against the other heavyweights in the Western Conference playoffs. Now that Parker will miss the rest of the postseason, the Spurs will be tested like they rarely have been before.
“If we don’t have him, it’s going to be a lot tougher to hang with teams like Houston and Golden State, the Clippers, that kind of thing,” Popovich told the Associated Press before the season ended.
While the 34-year-old Parker is not the dynamic playmaker he was in his younger days, he has still been hugely important to what the team does. After the Spurs were blown out in Game 1, Parker responded with 18 points in 25 minutes before getting injured to help San Antonio rebound to even the series.
He appeared to land awkwardly while taking a shot with 8:34 to play Wednesday night and crumpled to the court. The Frenchman needed to be carried off the floor by teammates, casting a pall over San Antonio’s victory.
Popovich said after the game that it didn’t look good, and the Spurs’ fears were confirmed after an MRI on Thursday. The team said there is no timetable yet for his recovery.
Game 3 of the series is on Friday night in Houston.
With Parker out, backup Patty Mills could move into a starting role and the Spurs will also likely give Kawhi Leonard more ball-handling responsibility.
All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors missed practice Thursday because of his sprained left ankle, and the team says more tests are scheduled to determine the severity of the injury. Toronto coach Dwane Casey says Lowry is being listed as questionable to play in Friday’s Game 3 of the Raptors’ Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who lead the series 2-0. Lowry was hurt early in the second half of Toronto’s loss in Cleveland on Wednesday after colliding with a teammate and taking an awkward fall. Lowry returned to the game briefly, and was then shut down when the Cavaliers took full control by the start of the fourth quarter. …
Utah Jazz starting point guard George Hill will not play against the Golden State Warriors in Game 2 because of soreness in his left big toe. The injury has lingered throughout the season and kept the ninth-year veteran from 16 regular-season games. Hill has averaged 15.6 points, 3.6 assists and 4.1 rebounds in the playoffs.