Tony Parker will miss two to four weeks with an injury to his left calf, the San Antonio Spurs announced Monday. Parker hadn't missed a game all season as San Antonio has streaked to a league-best 49-10 record. In fact, it will be the first missed game for any of San Antonio's regular starters, as none of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, DeJuan Blair or Richard Jefferson have missed a night of work.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich used Manu off the bench once this season, starting George Hill in his place. That means that when Hill takes over for Parker during this stretch, the Spurs will be using their third starting lineup of the season.
Parker is averaging 17.1 points and 6.6 assists per game for the balanced Spurs, and was considered one of the very last All-Star snubs this season. He and Ginobili have, per usual, combined to form one of the most solid backcourts in the league, well-rounded and consistent. But Hill, who many felt could have replaced Parker heading into the season, is no slouch, and San Antonio shouldn't fall apart with Parker out.
Hill has been Popovich's most trusted sub this season, playing a reserve-high 28 minutes per game. He's been a bit of a muted Gary Neal: Hill's in the game to shoot, yes, but also to drive the lanes and make plays for his big men. His assist numbers aren't great, which means the Spurs will rely more on Ginobili to set up San Antonio's shooters.
For more analysis of what Parker's injury means to San Antonio's quest for a fifth title, visit Pounding The Rock.