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Parker has Grade 1 hamstring strain

May 15, 2014

San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker has a Grade 1 strain of his left hamstring, the least severe level of the injury, and he is listed as day-to-day.

The Spurs made the announcement on Thursday, a day off after eliminating the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals. But Parker came in to get an exam of the injury that caused him to miss the entire second half of the clincher.

Just as the Spurs appeared to be finding their playoff legs and asserting themselves as the team to beat in the powerful Western Conference, Parker’s gave out. He felt his left hamstring tighten early in the second quarter, went to the locker room to get it examined and only played briefly before calling it a night.

Parker missed 14 games with various injuries during the regular season, but the Spurs went 11-3 in those games and still managed to post the best record in the NBA. Still, the prospects of losing Parker — the inexhaustible throttle on the Spurs’ relentless engine — was enough to make a team bent on returning to the NBA Finals a little nervous after their 104-82 victory over Portland sent them back to the Western Conference finals.

“If we want to have a chance to make it to the Finals, we need him healthy,” guard Manu Ginobili said.

Parker suffered a Grade 2 strain of his right hamstring in Game 3 of the NBA Finals last season against the Miami Heat. He didn’t miss a game because of it, but the discomfort definitely limited effectiveness. He was 9 for 35 in the last two games, including 3 for 12 for 10 points in the Game 7 loss at Miami.

But Parker told the San Antonio Express-News that his latest injury wasn’t as serious as the one that bothered him last June.

“It’s OK; not too bad,” Parker told the newspaper. “Not as bad as the NBA Finals. NBA Finals was a Grade 2. This one is Grade 1. So should be fine for Monday.”

The Spurs will host Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Monday if Oklahoma City defeats the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 6 of their series on Thursday. If the series goes the full seven games, the next round will open on Wednesday in San Antonio.

The makes the Spurs’ five-game victory over the young Trail Blazers even more important. Parker will have at least four days off, and perhaps as many as six, to rest and rehab his hamstring.

“Luckily we have a couple of days,” Spurs forward Tim Duncan said after the game. “It worries us, obviously. But he’s been going hard, he’s had a great series thus far, and it just kind of caught up with him.”


AP freelance writer Raul Dominguez in San Antonio contributed to this report.