Tony Parker Reportedly Cleared to Play in 2012 Olympics Following Eye Injury
San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker's status for the London Olympics was uncertain after he suffered a scratched cornea in a New York nightclub last month, but now it appears as though all systems are go for the French star.
According to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, Parker has been cleared by doctors and the Spurs to compete in London.
Parker was an unfortunate victim in a brawl between the entourages of rappers Drake and Chris Brown, but he was lucky that his eye injury wasn't bad enough to keep him out of the Olympics or even worse.
Parker is coming off of one of the best seasons of his NBA career, as he became a more adept distributor while still maintaining his dynamic scoring ability. He was probably the biggest reason for San Antonio's success; he essentially took over as the team's alpha male with Tim Duncan nearing the end of his career.
Parker averaged 18.3 points and a career-high 7.7 assists per game as the Spurs fell just two wins short of the NBA Finals.
Despite a rash of injuries, Team USA is still an overwhelming favorite to take home gold in men's basketball. There are several teams that could possibly give the Americans a scare, though, and France is one of them.
In addition to Parker, the French have a solid roster including NBA stars such as Joakim Noah, Nicolas Batum and Parker's Spurs teammate Boris Diaw.
France lacks depth when compared to a team like the United States, but its first unit can probably beat essentially any nation other than the USA. It was expected that the Americans' stiffest challenge would come from Spain, just as it did in Beijing back in 2008, but France is a sleeper team that can do some damage with Parker at the controls.
How will the French men's basketball team fare in London?
Without Parker, however, the French would have been in a ton of trouble. Inexperienced Dallas Mavericks guard Rodrigue Beaubois probably would have been running the point, and while he is talented, his skill set doesn't compare to Parker's.
Even if France isn't a serious threat for the gold, there is no reason why it can't medal now that Parker is assured to be on the roster. Silver is a very real possibility, but even if the French can't get past a team like Spain, then it will be in close competition with Argentina for a bronze medal.
The French haven't even qualified for the past two Olympics, so winning a medal of any kind would make Parker an even bigger national hero than he already is.
Things could have been disastrous for Parker, as a more severe injury might have blinded him and ended his career. He was very lucky to come away from the scuffle virtually unscathed and keep his Olympic dreams, as well as those of all his countrymen, alive.
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