The news was bleak. Tony Parker would miss two to four weeks with a calf strain. Suddenly, the San Antonio Spurs' smooth-sailing season was headed toward choppier waters.
Not even his teammates believed it when told that Parker would suit up after missing just two games -- that's right two games. He returned for Friday's blowout of Miami. Of course, he was also on the floor for Sunday's rare wipeout to the Los Angeles Lakers. But, without Parker Spurs fans suddenly fretted that the team's five-game cushion in the Western Conference was no longer safe.
So how did Parker turn two to four weeks into one game? From the beginning, Parker believed doctors were being overcautious and overstated how long he would be out.
"I was like, 'I disagree,'" Parker said. "I only needed a week. That's what I felt in my body."
Parker, who had 23 points Wednesday on 11-of-15 shooting, even thought he might play a week ago in Cleveland, after just one game out, after taking part in a pain-free practice session.
"Pop (Spurs coach Gregg Popovich) thought I was going to be out for a month, so after four days he was like, 'It's impossible,'" Parker said. "I told him I was feeling great, so he trusted my judgment."
One teammate in particular had other thoughts.
"I think he's a faker, honestly," forward Tim Duncan said. "I don't think he wanted to go on that trip and he wanted somebody to beg him, 'Oh Tony, we miss you.'"
Either way, the Spurs' chances of maintaining their grip on the No. 1 seed is significantly greater with Parker having missed two games instead of two to four weeks.
SPURS 111, PISTONS 104: The Spurs shot 80 percent in the first half bolstered by making their first 14 shots of the game. They finished the first half 28-of-35 from the floor and led 67-52. The finished the game shooting 64.3 percent from the floor. Tony Parker was 11-of-15 for 23 points and Manu Ginobili was 8-of-11 for 17 points. Tim Duncan had 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting and Richard Jefferson finished with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting. Gary Neal came off the bench and added 15 points on 4-of-5 shooting, while Matt Bonner was 5-of-8 for 11 points, although his NBA-leading three-point percentage took a hit as he missed 3-of-4.
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