During All-Star weekend, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich kept saying he was waiting for the other shoe to drop. His core players — Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Richard Jefferson and DeJuan Blair — had not missed a game all season. Popovich knew he’d been lucky.
Up until now.
Tony Parker will be out two to four weeks with a strained left soleus, the team announced. Parker left Sunday’s game in the second quarter after colliding with Memphis’ Mike Conley and did not return.
The soleus is part of the calf muscle, the part above the heel to halfway up your calf, which allows you to flex your foot. Basically, you can’t really jump run when it is sore. You need to jump and run to play basketball. Unless you were Oliver Miller.
On the court, expect this to mean a lot more Manu Ginobili handling the ball, George Hill in the starting lineup and more burn for Gary Neal. Hill started at points last season and while he’s not playing at the level Parker is this year he is a solid replacement.
The Spurs have a 6 game lead over Dallas for the top spot in the Western Conference. The Spur upcoming schedule is tough, including two games against the Heat and one against the Lakers. However, even with Parker out for a few weeks it will be very difficult for the Mavericks to make that up (same with Boston, who is that far behind them for the best record overall).
Look for the Spurs to error on the side of caution here — they need Parker back healthy for the playoffs, not rush him back for a meaningless regular season game and have the injury linger.