The Spurs All-Star point guard is back, and not a moment too soon.
This shouldn't come as a surprise, necessarily. If Parker is ready to play, he'll play under the usual circumstances. But one of the questions we've had recently is surrounding the backup point guard position. As recently as Wednesday against Golden State, Gregg Popovich told us he was unsure of how that rotation would play out.
But it seems he has his answer. Pop told us prior to tip that Nando De Colo and Cory Joseph will get the backup minutes, though he's not certain exactly how many that will be. After missing eight games with a severe left ankle sprain, the Spurs' coach didn't have an answer to how many minutes his star guard would play this evening. There surely won't be any rush to force him back into extended minutes, especially given the way Joseph and De Colo have been playing.
With the struggling Jazz in town, one would think the Spurs won't need Parker in bulk anyway. The only question is how his return will affect this team tonight.
"It's not just Tony, I'm concerned with the team getting used to him," Pop said. "It takes as long as it takes."
Short and sweet, but to the point. This team has learned to rely on its other players in Tony's stead, so it'll be interesting to watch how quickly the re-acclimation process takes. This team has played with him for long enough that it shouldn't take all that long.
On another note, if the Spurs win tonight it will be Pop's 900th win as an NBA coach, something Tyrone Corbin called a "tremendous accomplishment."
What will it mean to Popovich once it happens?
"Nothing," Pop said.