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Injury report: MRI exam on Parker reveals facet joint sprain

Tony Parker will miss at least the next two games

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The MRI results on Tony Parker are back:

Here's what a quick Google search on facet joint sprains shows:

The facet joints are the connections between the bones of the spine. The nerve roots pass through these joints to go from the spinal cord to the arms, legs and other parts of the body.

These joints also allow the spine to bend and twist, and they keep the back from slipping too far forward or twisting without limits. Like the knee joint, they have cartilage to allow smooth movement where two bones meet. The joints are lined with the synovium and have lubricating joint fluid.

When these joints get swollen and painful because of injury or arthritis, it causes pain. If the affected joint is in the neck, it may cause headaches and difficulty moving the head. If it is in the back, it may cause pain in the lower back, buttocks or thighs.

Most patients with this condition heal well with an appropriate physical therapy program. One of the key components of treatment is that the patient rests sufficiently from ANY activity that increases their pain until they are symptom free (a back brace may be required). This allows the body to begin the healing process in the absence of further tissue damage. Once the patient can perform these activities pain free, a gradual return to these activities is indicated provided there is no increase in symptoms....

The recovery time for a facet joint sprain may vary from patient to patient depending on compliance with physical therapy. With ideal treatment, patients may be pain free in as little as several days, although typically this may take 2 - 3 weeks. It is important to note, however, that injured tissue takes approximately six weeks to restore the majority of its strength in ideal healing conditions. Care must therefore be taken when returning to activity during this period.

Back injuries are tricky but it seems it could have been worse. This simply appears to be a back strain with no nerve damage involved.

Since we don't know the severity of the strain, it's hard to say if this is the type of injury that could linger into the post-season or simply disappear with some rest and physical therapy. It's hard to see Gregg Popovich risk aggravating the injury so I wouldn't be surprised if Parker sits out the next four games and returns to action on the last game of the regular season against the Lakers. Of course, that's just speculation on my part.

We will keep you posted if more information becomes available.