The Spurs Can't Overcome Tony Parker's Knee Injury
After taking an MRI, the Spurs fear Tony Parker will have to undergo season-ending surgery on his left knee.
Photo by Soobum Im - USAToday Sports
According to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski, the San Antonio Spurs believe Tony Parker may need season-ending surgery on his left knee. The injury occurred during Game 2 on Wednesday night, when Parker crumpled to the court after launching a seemingly harmless floater in the paint, the same shot he wore like a glove for nearly 15 years.
If this holds, it's sad for everyone involved: Parker, the entire Spurs organization, and basketball fans all over the world who spent over a decade marveling at one of the NBA's all-time great careers.
Parker turns 35 in two weeks. Even with $15.4 million guaranteed next season before his contract expires, it's possible he never steps on an NBA floor again. (Extended, painful sigh.)
As devastating as this is, San Antonio's show must go on. After last night's defiant victory they now find themselves tied 1-1 against a Houston Rockets team that perpetually bubbles like an active volcano. Parker wasn't the player he used to be, but the Spurs still relied a good deal on his off-the-bounce shot creation.
According to Synergy Sports, only three players have been more efficient in this postseason as a pick-and-roll scorer (minimum 50 possessions): Kawhi Leonard, Mike Conley, and Lou Williams. San Antonio's offense has operated at an elite level whether Parker is on the floor or off, but the domino effect of his departure will still be significant.
Aside from Leonard, Parker was the only Spur who could semi-reliably score off a ball screen. It's possible Patty Mills will slide into San Antonio's starting lineup, but don't count out Gregg Popovich promoting stringbean rookie Dejounte Murray to stabilize the rotation as much as he can.
Murray won't replicate Parker's minutes or workload, though. And there's a good chance we either see an increase in playing time for 39-year-old Manu Ginobili, or the ball landing in Leonard's hands even more than it already is. There's a strong chance none of it will matter.
To defeat Houston three more times, the Spurs will need to generate efficient offense at a high volume. Without Parker, who averaged 16 points per game with a 52.6/57.9/1.00 (!!!) shooting split, San Antonio might not have any answers.
Update: The Spurs announced that the MRI revealed a ruptured quadriceps tendon in his left leg and he will miss the remainder of the season.