SAN ANTONIO – Spurs point guard Tony Parker is done for the remainder of the playoffs after he ruptured his left quadriceps tendon late in Wednesday night's Game 2 victory over the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference semifinals, the Spurs confirmed Thursday morning.
Parker had an MRI exam Thursday morning to determine the extent of the injury. Considering Parker still couldn't put any weight on his left leg after the game, the prevailing opinion in the team's locker room was that he would miss the rest of the postseason.
"You kind of know we are not going to see him anytime soon," said guard Manu Ginobili, who has played with Parker for 15 seasons. "That is a tough blow."
Parker left the game with 8:43 remaining after he missed a floater in the paint and fell to the floor awkwardly. The sellout crowd of 18,418 fell silent as teammates Dewayne Dedmon and Dejounte Murray carried Parker off the court and to the training room.
"It's not good," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said when asked after the game about the severity of Parker's injury.
Parker, who turns 35 on May 17, has spent his entire 16-year NBA career with the Spurs. He has played on four championship teams and was Finals MVP in 2007, when the Silver and Black swept LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Parker was only 19 when he became Popovich's starting point guard five games into his rookie season (2001-02).
The injury took some of the joy out of a dominant fourth quarter that led to a 121-96 victory and tied the Western Conference semifinal series at a game each.
The series moves to Houston for Games 3 and 4 on Friday and Sunday.
Parker's teammates spoke somberly Wednesday night when they addressed Parker's injury with the media.
"What is hard is to see him limping and hurting now," Ginobili said. "We will have to regroup, reorganize the game plan, the starting five, and the rotations. We'll try to step up, but it is hard to lose a player like Tony. At first I thought it was just a Charley horse. It looked like he got hit in the quad, but he couldn't even put weight on it to come back to the locker room. That is when we got worried."
Patty Mills, who most likely will start in Parker's place now, spoke slowly and his voice was thick with emotion as he talked about Parker.
"You never want to see a teammate go down," Mills said, adding that the Spurs had a "sunken feeling" when they saw Parker go down.
Asked if he had spoken to Parker after the game, Mills replied: "Gave him a hug. That's all that needs to be done right now."
Rookie Dejounte Murray probably will back up Mills. While Parker was still the Spurs' engine this season, All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard handled the ball more and became a key facilitator in pick-and-roll plays. With Parker sidelined, the Silver and Black will rely on Leonard to initiate more of the offense from the point. Leonard had a career playoff-high eight assists in Game 2.
Parker finished Game 2 with 18 points, hitting 8 of 13 shots, including 2 of 2 from the 3-point line. He also had three rebounds and four assists.
Parker had stepped up his scoring in the playoffs, averaging 15.9 points. He averaged 10.1 points in the regular season, his lowest scoring average since his rookie season in 2001-02. His 4.5 assists average was also his lowest since 2001-02. Parker averaged 3.1 assists in eight playoff games this season.
An assortment of nagging injuries sidelined Parker for 14 games this season, but he steadily worked himself back into shape in the stretch run of the season and looked rejuvenated in the playoffs.
The Spurs will miss more than Parker's steady execution on the court, Mills said.
"He has the presence, just like T.D. (Tim Duncan) had that presence," Mills said. "And he was rolling the last month, going back to his old self. But he has that presence on the floor, especially when he's on the break and the ball's in his hands. He makes big-time plays and big-time moves. We'll see what the deal is."
Veteran center Pau Gasol, who won NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 and 2010, talked about Parker's importance to the Spurs.
"Tony is a huge part of this team and we all know that," Gasol said. "He's the point guard of this team. He's been here for so long, he knows everything from top to bottom. He's been in these situations many, many times in his career. He's been tremendously successful and efficient."
While the Spurs hoped for the best Wednesday night, Gasol said they understood there was a strong possibility Parker wouldn't be back.
"At the same time, it's playoff time," Gasol said. "You've got to get through adversity. You've got to fight through it and overcome it and don't make any excuses. We'll face whatever comes at us and try to do our best."