Tony Parker will be on the shelf for a while

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The Spurs’ great fortune of having a healthy core all year had to go at some point, right? On Sunday night when Tony Parker came up lame in the second quarter of the Spurs’ win over the Grizzlies, it finally did.

Parker left the game and went back to the locker room with about two minutes left in the first half and never re-emerged. Manu Ginobili carried the offensive load and George Hill did a decent job filling in, but the ridiculous dry spell the San Antonio offense went on could probably be attributed to missing Parker.

And if that is indeed the case, well this is great news for everyone:

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that guard Tony Parker has been diagnosed with a strained left soleus after undergoing a MRI earlier today. He is expected to miss two to four weeks. He will not accompany the team on this week’s road trip to Memphis and Cleveland in order to begin his rehabilitation program in San Antonio.

Basically, Tony Parker strained his calf muscle. Not a terrible injury by any means, but it’s not the best of timing either. This is the stretch run where you want the team to come together before playoffs and tear it up. One could argue that they’ve already done that, but the goal is to peak going into the playoffs.

And if anyone brings up the Lakers losing seven of 11 heading into the playoffs last season, then they have to sit in the corner in silence for 15 minutes.

Really, Coach Pop should simply avoid playing Tony Parker against the Grizzlies for the duration of his tenure with the Spurs. If you’ll recall, it was last season against the Grizzlies when Parker broke his hand and was out until the last week of the season.

This injury shouldn’t be as serious and should give Tony a little more time to get back in the groove before the playoffs. For now, though, the Spurs will be forced to use just their third different starting lineup of the season. At this point, every team would love to have the Spurs’ problems.

  • lvmainman

    Put me in the doom and gloom camp. The schedule is brutal for the Spurs. Heat twice, Lakers twice, Mavs, @ Memphis twice, etc without Parker? I can see the Spurs @ 13-12 if Parker is out 2 to 4 weeks.

    But, I’m more worried that Ginobili will be asked to carry a heavier load and then get hurt.

    I still believe that the only way the Spurs can compete for a championship is with home court advantage throughout the playoffs.

  • Hobson13

    badger
    February 28th, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    lvmainman
    February 28th, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    You both provide some very valid points. IMO, this is sink or swim time for the Spurs. Yes, the schedule is not fun, but the Spurs played a very difficult stretch last year without Parker and the team actually played very well. No question that we need to pick up the slack AS A TEAM. Perhaps having the ball in Hill’s hands will unshackle RJ a bit more. I can’t help to believe that if he got more shots, he could still average close to 18ppg. Anderson should get plenty more burn and so should Neal when he comes back.

    It’s very possible that the entire team could find a whole new sense of focus now that everyone must pick up where Tony left off. If others prove they can step up, this will only help the team come playoff time. However, if we bumble through the next two weeks, we could risk HCA which, IMO, is vital to any championship hopes. We’ll see what happens tomorrow night.

  • Tim in Surrey

    @Syd – Sorry to disagree, but Brewer HAS demonstrated that he can hit the three consistently. When he came into the league, he was a classic all-D/no-O player. After he missed his second year to an ACL tear, I think that a lot of people forgot about him. But he worked on his shot a lot and had a remarkable streak last season where he hit a three-point shot in 33 consecutive contests. He made about 35% of his threes that season. However, that three was essentially the only weapon in his offensive arsenal.

    I’m not sure what happened this year. Minnesota brought in two guys (Martell Webster and Wes Johnson) to fill his role, so perhaps his confidence was hurt? I think it’s more likely, though, that Rambis’ interest in him waned. (Rambis is, I think, not the most effective judge of talent. Remember earlier this season when he was limiting Kevin Love’s minutes in favor of Anthony Tolliver, while the T-Wolves were losing like crazy? Not very bright.) Additionally, Minnesota suddenly had a glut of similar players, which can often make each of those players less effective. Hard to say, as I haven’t seen much of the T-Wolves this year.

    But the central point remains: If you need someone to play excellent defense and hit the occasional open three, Brewer is your man. He won’t do anything more (unless he develops more), but he’ll do that pretty well.

  • Tim in Surrey

    Oh, and Chris Broussard added that San Antonio is one of four teams that have spoken to Rasual Butler, along with Chicago (who are really after him), Dallas, and Atlanta. It’s always hard to know what the Spurs are up to but, based on rumours, it looks like they’re definitely looking for a wing player and are pursuing Brewer and Butler as possibilities.

    Personally, I doubt they’ll go after T.J. Ford or Mike Bibby. Those guys don’t have Pop’s kind of game at all and Ford seems to have delusions of grandeur on top of all that.

  • mybloodissilverandblack

    Rather than panicking with TP’s injury, let’s all be concerned about this: Tony, AND Gary, AND Tiago are out. Also, I just learned that Timmy is day-to-day.

    Then again, GET A HOLD OF YOURSELVES, SPURS FANS! The sky isn’t falling. Well, not yet. But, there’s a reason why our team has such depth. So, relax. Have faith in our guys.

  • jwalt

    I’m in agreement that Brewer is worth pursuing and might help. But I’ve watched a lot of T-Wolve games this year (a closet Love fan) and “smart” is the last adjective I would use for Corey. Plays hard, can definitely defend, seems like a good guy, but he’s not the brightest bulb in the room. There are usually reasons why a coach or team gives up on a player. Maybe not valid reasons (I think Rambis is easily the worst coach in the league) but still, let’s not kid ourselves into thinking Brewer is the next Bruce Bowen. Bowen was a lot less athletically gifted, but he was as smart as they come. And if Brewer was all everyone has written here, he’d be in the Knick rotation.

  • Judd

    Brewer is a guy i’ve waatned for years. that would be great. with tony out for maybe a month, i’d love to see t.j ford too. anybody looked at our schedule in march? scary, scary stuff

  • http://www.espn.com texasj

    brewer is only 24 give him a couple years with pop(if pop doesnt retire) and you’ll see that bulb start to flicker and eventually light up.

  • SAJKinBigD

    I’d love to have Brewer in this system. And Butler, too. Personally, I really want the Spurs to make a move with one of these guys to keep them from going to the Mavs, Celts, Heat (why do they want Bibby? Murphy I understand, but Bibby?).

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  • Syd

    @ Tim in Surrey

    I’ve got to say, I’m more on the same page with @Jwalt when it comes to Brewer. Maybe not specifically in regard to his smarts (I don’t know about that) but regarding the larger point that if he really exhibited the full complement of skills you describe, he wouldn’t be available.

    We here in “blog comment land” offer many legitimately insightful points, but I’m not inclined to think that the coaching and scouting staffs of multiple professional basketball franchises are all just “missing it” when it comes to an established player’s abilities.

    All I’m saying is, let’s not oversell what this this guy is. His strengths are defensive tenacity, quickness, atleticism and length. Despite the stats you mentioned, long-range shooting is hardly his prized asset. He’s a career 31% shooter from 3-point range and in his best year, shot 35%. Not awful, but not a calling card by any stretch.

    If we can get him at the right price, hey that’s great. I’ve been saying since the summer that we need a long, defensive-minded wing to back up RJ. If we end up getting him in March, so be it. And if he can drain the occasional corner trey, all the better. But I’m more interested in what he can do to harass the likes of Bryant and Durant for 12-15 minutes a night. If we sign him and he does that, mission accomplished. Anyting else is gravy. Now let’s just hope he doesn’t sign with Dallas and make all this back and forth moot.

  • The Beat Counselor

    Corey Brewer is definitely not a good shooter. If we are lucky enough to get him, it would seem that our offensive system would break down whenever he would get the ball since our offense is predicated on getting the ball to the open man and that person taking their shot. It would be reminiscent to Bogans last year. Clank.

    On the other hand, Brewer is GREAT in transition and his defense (and offense now that I think about it) is in the realm of Sefalosha, Ariza and Mbah a Moute. I doubt Chip could change the mechanics of his jumper this year, so offensively, every time he gets the ball in a half-court set, he would have to pass or already be slashing. And of course, somebody else on our squad would be double-teamed.

    That being said, he would be a throw back player in the traditional, defensive-minded Spurs mold that we haven’t seen in a while. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a lock-down wing defender to back up RJ? He’s what we all wanted before the season started.

  • Tim in Surrey

    @Syd and @jwalt – Fair enough. I’m not trying to oversell him either. But as an SEC fan (I’m a Vanderbilt alum) I’ve probably been watching Brewer even longer than both of you and I think he’s a LOT better than many people realize. He’s definitely smart. I see your point about not wanting to second-guess professionals. But remember, we’re talking about the Minnesota Timberwolves, who’ve amply demonstrated their ability to screw things up. There’s just something broken in Minnesota. Maybe Rambis will be able to fix it, but I haven’t really seen evidence of that. And the triangle is not the offense for a player like Brewer.

    Anyway, I brought some backup, courtesy of Henry Abbott:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/25595/the-knicks-could-use-a-good-geek

    It’s interesting that Abbott asserts that Brewer “might lead the league” in end-of-quarter heaves. That kind of shot demonstrates his mindset because it is guaranteed to lower your FG% and 3PT%–which can cost you a lot of coin in the NBA–but it might give your team a better chance to win the game. And it explains how someone who hit a three in 33 consecutive games could still only shoot 35% for the year. Abbott says he has shot “dozens” of them, out of 384 career 3-pt attempts. I don’t know how many extra missed threes that is, but for every dozen it would add about one percentage point to his career figure. And the difference between a 31% shooter and, say, a 34% one is substantial, wouldn’t you agree?

    And as for Brewer’s availability… Well, New York never really traded for him. They just used his salary slot so that they could pick up Anthony and Billups. D’Antoni has never used guys like Brewer, so I don’t think he ever really thought much about using him. After all, he has only been there a week! It was Minnesota that let him go and that’s the same team that kept playing him out of position for all four of his seasons. I won’t go into their many flaws, but I’m not especially impressed with their ability to judge talent.

    Anyway, we’ll see who gets him. But I agree with Henry Abbott: Whoever picks him up will be happy they did. I just hope it’s us.

  • rob

    @ Tim in Surrey

    Just read that myself. Great write up about Brewer, the idiocy of the Knicks and the importance of anylitics and stats that play into good teams succeeding. Spurs being one of the best and thus further proof Brewer would do very well playing for the Spurs.

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