The San Antonio Spurs had their championship hopes dashed with Kawhi Leonard suffering a season-ending ankle injury.
Things started taking a turn for the worst in the second round of the playoffs against the Houston Rockets. Tony Parker suffered a torn quadriceps tendon that could sideline him up to eight months, and it was all downhill from there for San Antonio.
Fans and analysts immediately began to wonder if the injury could lead to the end of Parker's career. It's a significant injury with a huge timetable, and Parker's contract has just one season left. A quadriceps tear is one of the most grueling injuries to return from.
Parker isn't fazed by it, though. TP spoke with French paper Equipe to shed some light on his recovery and future with the Spurs. He sounded motivated as ever, planning to come back "stronger than ever," according to the translation provided by Reddit user Sweg_Coyote.
"I have the impression that I will back even stronger than before! I know, it feels strange to say that but in my whole career, I never took 6 months to do bodybuilding only. I’m going to work out like a mad man and come back stronger than ever.
Some people are saying that I will never come back, I’m not listening to them, I know how I want to end my career," Parker said.
That has to be very promising to hear if your a Spurs fan or just appreciate Parker's game. It'd be disappointing to see one of the NBA's finest point guards have to call it quits because of a freak injury. How effective he is post-rehab will be a big question, but it sounds like Parker is motivated to crush it.
The Spurs will have to keep a close eye on how things look. Having two starters go down to injury is a terrible way to end a successful season, and it makes evaluating the roster all the more difficult when it comes time for tough free agency decisions.
Parker understands that, even before the injury, his role on the team isn't to be the high-usage star player. It sounds like he's more than willing to take a backseat for whatever's best for the Spurs, and he embraces the role as a leader and mentor.
"I have a new status in the team, I’m more in the team management and leadership and I like it. I know that one time I will come back from the bench like Tim or Manu. But I will always have an important role to play," Parker said.
This is all good news, with Parker moving into the summer with some serious momentum and eyes on coming back in the best shape possible