San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker is heading to the G-League.
No, this is not a demotion for the six-time All-Star. Parker joined the Austin Spurs, who are hosting their training camp in San Antonio, as part of his rehabilitation from a torn left quadriceps tendon.
The Spurs (4-0) confirmed the move on Wednesday, when they began a four-game road trip against the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Indiana Pacers and Boston Celtics. Parker’s rehab assignment makes perfect sense, since he will be able to get in practice time that he couldn’t currently with the NBA club.
Parker suffered the injury in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets, and while many feared a torn quad could spell the worst for the 35-year-old veteran’s career, he vowed several weeks later in May, “I will play my best basketball when I return in January.”
While that sounded optimistic, Parker might have actually been underselling himself. He told French newspaper L’Équipe in September that he had been medically cleared and was shooting for an even earlier return. “Obviously I need to get back into shape,” he said. “I think I need another two months.”
This past weekend, Parker began playing full-contact games of 2-on-2 and 3-on-3, according to the San Antonio Express-News, and he expected to be cleared for 5-on-5 scrimmage work this week. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, ever cautious with his vets, pegged December as the target for Parker’s return.
“If it were up to him,” Parker joked to L’Équipe about Pop, “I would not play before the playoffs.”
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