Tony Parker has said that his hamstring could tear at anytime, and that if this was the regular season, he would rest a week or two. As that is clearly not an option, Parker will take the risk and play. And at this point, it certainly seems that the outcome of the NBA Finals will depend on Parker’s health.
Parker got hurt in game 3, a game in which he scored just six points, but was able to play just 27 minutes thanks to the offensive onslaught by Gary Neal and Danny Green. In game 4, that was no longer an option.
In the BS Report podcast, Bill Simmons talked about how Parker ran out to the locker room five minutes before tip-off, in order to get his injection. It seemed to have worked — in the first half Parker looked fantastic, scoring 15 points and dishing out six assists, while shooting 7-12 from the field and hitting one impossible shot after another.
And then the injection wore off. Parker shot 0-4 from the field, scored zero points and had three assists in the second half.
Gregg Popovich keeps saying how Parker is fine, but hamstring pain greatly limits a player’s explosiveness. It seems that the injection numbed the pain just enough for Parker to come out strong, but as his body stiffened up, he couldn’t move as fast as he usually does in the second half.
Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are not really having a great series either, and so the outcome of the NBA Finals could very well come down to the health of Parker.