By now, you’ve probably heard the news that San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker will miss the rest of the playoffs with a ruptured quadriceps tendon.
With just under nine minutes left in the fourth quarter of San Antonio’s 121-96 victory in Game 2, Parker clutched his left knee and collapsed to the court, where he was attended to by the team’s medical staff for several minutes.
While the 34-year-old point guard was a shell of the player he used to be from a production standpoint in the regular season, averaging just 10.1 points per game (his lowest since his rookie season), the Frenchman stepped up his game in the playoffs before he suffered the injury, averaging 15.9 points, which ranked second on the team behind only Kawhi Leonard.
He also had a 27-point masterpiece in a clinching win in Game 6 of their opening round series against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Therefore, San Antonio will surely miss his presence on the court. But, his absence will also hurt due to his vast playoff experience. Consider the following:
That’s right. Parker alone has played in more playoff games than the Sacramento Kings, New Orleans Pelicans, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets have appeared in combined.
While that's completely embarrassing for those franchises, it's also a testament to Parker and the Spurs, who have essentially been a dynasty over the course of his career.
Per ESPN, Parker became the ninth player in NBA postseason history to reach 4,000 career points on Wednesday, joining LeBron James as the league’s only active players to score 4,000 points and dish out 1,000 assists in the postseason.
His 221 games played in the playoffs also ranks fifth in NBA history. Incredibly, Game 3 will be the first playoff game that he’s missed in his entire career.
While much of the focus is on the Spurs’ current situation at point guard, Parker’s injury and recovery will also likely force them to add another player at the position in the offseason.
Until then, in the short-term, expect Patty Mills and rookie Dejounte Murray to attempt to fill Parker’s void, if that’s even possible. Since Leonard filled a point forward role for much of Game 2's victory, he will also likely see the ball in his hands more than usual as coach Gregg Popovich and company will attempt to compensate for losing their floor general.
Game 3 takes place on Friday night from Houston in what should be a dramatic tie-breaker.