As integral as Tim Duncan’s presence may be, it’s Parker’s play at point that makes San Antonio go. So far, they’re still going, sitting on a 45-13 record through this critical point in the season.
Being the primary force of momentum of a team can perhaps make a player feel as though he can’t afford to miss time. When you’re in pundits’ MVP discussions, you don’t have time for an injury, right?
Well, that must have been what Parker was thinking. In a recent match-up with the Los Angeles Clippers, the Frenchman suffered an accidental elbow to his right arm. The elbow hit Parker just above his right elbow, injuring his tricep.
One would think you’d see expressions of main when a guy’s shooting arm is damaged and he’s out there putting as many jump-shots as he does. As it turns out, the injury was evident to no one in the Spurs’ clubhouse, but Parker himself. But, not surprisingly, it wasn’t long before someone picked up on it.
“We didn’t realize it until about halfway through the game when he didn’t shoot any (perimeter) shots.”, said Popovich
Parker played 40 minutes in the overtime loss against the Warriors, following the Clippers match-up. He ended up with 18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. He made 7 of his 18 shots. His last three games before the injury? He scored 31, 30, and 24 respectively, shooting 50% or better each time.
As clear as Parker’s struggle with the injury seemed in his shooting, he wasn’t interested in complaining.
“I told Pop, ‘You know me. I’ve been here 10 years, and I don’t complain about injuries. There’s a lot of stuff I don’t tell you.’
Again, Parker is the engine that’s been making the Spurs go. With that being said, it seems less than smart to be risking the exasperation of an already “excruciation” injury, especially when you’re such an integral piece to a deep-playoff team.
There’s no doubt that Popovich appreciates his stars being tough, showing gutsy performances, and leading the crop of San Antonio’s several young talents. But, when you are the MVP of a team, Pop’s is pretty clear in telling Parker:
‘With something like this, you’ve got to tell ?me.’?”
–Original reporting via Spurs Nation
Twitter handle: @Abdi_hakim.