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Spurs' Tony Parker could return Friday against Utah

By Royce Young | NBA writer

It's no surprise that the Spurs have held the line just fine since Tony Parker went down with a severe ankle sprain on March 1.

Without Parker, the Spurs have gone 6-2 and whipped their top competition in the West in the Thunder.

And now, the Spurs might be getting Parker back sooner than expected.

Via the San Antonio Express-News, Parker could possibly play Friday against the Jazz.

It was at the exact moment Parker's availability for Friday's home game against Utah was broached with Popovich that the All-Star point guard sauntered past.

Parker deferred an update on his sprained left ankle to his coach, who said it's “possible” he could return then after missing an eighth straight game. Parker returned to practice earlier this week and participated in shootaround before Wednesday's game.

Parker's initial timetable was four weeks with a Grade 2 ankle sprain, which would've had him returning in early April, but he's obviously progressing much quicker than that. It's not really a big surprise, though. Parker has a history of returning sooner than expected from injuries.

For the Spurs, they hold a 2 1/2-game lead over the Thunder for the West's top seed with one game yet to play against them in Oklahoma City. So having Parker back for the final 14 games could be just enough to ensure they take homecourt throughout the Western Conference playoffs again.

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