San Antonio Spurs star point guard Tony Parker may return from his left ankle injury sooner than intially expected. Parker sprained his ankle on March 1 in a game against the Sacramento Kings and he was expected to miss one month of action, but on Thursday head coach Gregg Popovich suggested that Parker was progressing well and that he may get back faster than expected (via the San Antonio Express-News):
"He's doing fine," Popovich said. "I guess he's on schedule. Two weeks is (Friday). Initially they told us four weeks probably.
"I don't think it will be quite that long. I don't know if I'm being too hopeful, but I think it will be shorter than four weeks."
Popovich plays both sides of the coin in the statement, but his main message seems to be that his point guard could be back in less than four weeks. If he thinks it will be shorter than four weeks, Parker is ahead of schedule, not "on schedule" like the veteran coach said at the outset of his comments.
The Spurs own the best record in the Western Conference, and Parker is a big reason for the team's success. Although he's clearly behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant on the MVP ballot, Parker should garner plenty of third-place votes when it comes to Most Valuable Player voting.
In 56 games this season, Parker has averaged 21 points on a career-high 59.5 percent true shooting to go with 7.6 assists on a career-high 40.9 percent assist rate. His 24.3 Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is also a career-high, and the Spurs have been a whopping 11.8 points-per-100-possessions better than opponents when Parker is on the floor.
Here's a look at the injury Parker suffered against the Kings on March 1.
Duncan on life sans TP: "We're missing him, not just his scoring and his play but his play-calling and his understanding of what Pop wants."— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) March 15, 2013