Tony Parker Injury: Updates on Spurs Star's Hamstring and Return

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Tony Parker Injury: Updates on Spurs Star's Hamstring and Return
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Updates from Sunday, May 18

Gregg Popovich updated Tony Parker's status prior to Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder (via Marc Stein of ESPN):

Updates from Thursday, May 15

The Spurs provide an update on Tony Parker's injury:

Original Text:

San Antonio Spurs star point guard Tony Parker left the court in Game 5 of the team's second-round NBA playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday at the AT&T Center with a left hamstring injury.

News of Parker's ailment was reported by the Spurs official Twitter account:

At halftime, the Spurs provided another update: 

San Antonio Express News reporter Buck Harvey had a note on Parker's status moving forward:

Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express News felt Parker wouldn't return unless absolutely necessary:

Parker hadn't scored and had two rebounds in 10 minutes of action, but he is the catalyst for San Antonio's balanced offense. Although the Spurs have considerable depth and should manage to be fine without Parker since they're up in the series, 3-1, this is still a critical closeout game.

The Blazers held Parker to a series-low 14 points in Game 4 to avoid a sweep, and they were minimizing his effectiveness Wednesday. Portland coach Terry Stotts discussed the strategy of having swingman Nicolas Batum guard Parker for each of the past two contests, per OregonLive.com's Mike Tokito:

It's not like Nic shut him down. He makes him work. Obviously, his length can be helpful on his drives and affect his shot when he pulls up, maybe a little (more) reluctant to take those shots. And he knows him well. I think that the fact that he knows him well helps from a game standpoint, but also from a psychological standpoint.

Going on the road in the face of elimination, it makes sense that Stotts stuck with this ploy to contain such a critical piece of San Antonio's championship puzzle in Parker. However, it's still a monumental task ahead for the Blazers to battle back and advance to the Western Conference Finals.

Parker wasn't reported to have a serious injury Wednesday, so it seems he left the game for precautionary reasons. There is still hope for the Spurs to secure the victory without him, thanks to capable backup Patty Mills stepping in to fill the void.

But if San Antonio wants to get back to the NBA Finals and have a shot at redeeming itself after last year's heartbreaker, it needs Parker as close to 100 percent as possible. Health is at a premium at this point in the season, especially for the Spurs' aging nucleus of star players. Coach Gregg Popovich has sat his veterans throughout the 2013-14 campaign, and it stands to reason he'll do something similar with Parker's health in question here.

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