SAN ANTONIO -- So much for basking in the glow of their Game 3 win over the Miami Heat. The San Antonio Spurs will spent the next two days on edge now that Tony Parker's status is in question.
The point guard who has been their driving force all season long suffered a right hamstring injury early in the second half and will have an MRI on Wednesday to determine his status for Game 4 on Thursday in San Antonio. And with all due respect to the breakout star of the night, backup point guard Gary Neal, there's simply no way the Spurs can finish this job and win their fifth title without Parker.
"I felt something in my hamstring," Parker said afterward. "Hopefully it's nothing big, just cramping or got tight on me. It was a weird feeling. I just went to make sure with the doctor I was ok. Then I played like two minutes in the fourth quarter. We were up big, (Spurs coach Gregg Popovich) didn't want to take any risks. We'll see tomorrow."
The age-old rest and ice are the only prescribed treatments at the moment, but Popovich and the rest of the Spurs' group may need some Ibuprofen to deal with the headache that could come if Parker can't play. They're 11-5 this season when he doesn't take part, and one of those games - a 105-100 loss on Nov. 29 - came when the idea of playing without Parker was strategic.
Popovich infamously sent four of his top players home, with Parker joined by Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green. Yet Parker, who had just six points and eight assists in Game 3 while playing 27 minutes, simply must be on the floor going forward for the Spurs to prevail.
San Antonio is 43-8 in the regular season and playoffs when he scores 20 or more points and 18-1 when he has 10 or more assists. He had 13 points and five assists in Game 2 after a 21-point, six-assist outing in Game 1.