Another injury took point guard for the San Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker out of the second game of the Western Conference playoff series Wednesday night as he suffered an ill-times Achilles Tendon injury.
The stakes are running high for the defending champions, who lost to their local challengers, the L.A. Clippers in game one. But as fate would have it, the Spurs were able to pull out an overtime victory, 111-107, although Parker left the game for good with five minutes remaining.
Parker twisted his left ankle and sustained a nasty bruise on his left thigh in the first game, which ended in a loss for the Spurs, and left last night’s game with tightness in his right Achilles. Luckily it does not appear to be a serious injury, unlike what Kobe Brynat suffered when her had an Achilles Tendon rupture.
Playing Through the Pain
The Spurs tend to lean heavily on Parker’s talent. He’s a six-time all-star player, a four-time NBA Champion, and he took home the NBA Finals MVP in 2007.
But Parker’s coaches and teammates are rightly concerned about his ability to perform through his injuries. With almost 30 minutes of play time Wednesday, the point guard pulled off five assists and a steal, but he floundered on all six of his field goal attempts and scored only one point for the Spurs.
This Wednesday’s injury was a repeat for Parker, who had to leave an Oklahoma City Thunder game on April 7 due to tightness in the right Achilles.
Reports out of the locker room confirm that Parker is expected to return for game three in San Antonio. It’s a tough call for Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who has been doing his best to help Parker heal from his recurring injuries over the course of the season. Parker was benched for 13 out of 16 games following a left hamstring injury in December 2014.
In March, Parker told the press that his hamstring tear was “still bothering” him, and that he had “not been the same” since coming back from the injury. His stats are showing it, too. His scoring average is at its lowest since his rookie year in 2001-2002.
Achilles Tendon Injury Recovery Takes Time
The point guard’s Achiiles Tendon injury has proved an opportunity for new stars to shine on the Spurs, like his younger teammates Kawhi Leonard and Patty Mills. Although the Spurs are seeing the benefits of new talent, the more experienced players like Parker are clearly key to the team’s continued success.
Athletes need to be especially mindful of their bodies while playing through their injuries. “The tightness Parker is experiencing in his Achilles could be a strain from overcompensating for the hamstring or ankle issues. If this is the case, then the tightness isn’t really an injury, and Parker should be back on the court for game 3,” says Dr. Bob Baravarian, Director of University Foot and Ankle Institute in Los Angeles.
“Before facing off in game three, Parker should make sure to rest and ice his Achilles. Some physical therapy exercises and Achilles Tendon Stretches couldn’t hurt. Most importantly, the Spurs need to make sure Parker is playing safely and getting enough rest to avoid any further Achilles injury or strain,” states Baravarian.