Spurs’ Parker won’t need surgery


CLEVELAND (AP) — Spurs guard Tony Parker won’t need surgery on his broken right hand, meaning he may be able to return for the playoffs. He is expected to miss about six weeks.

“Everything is by degrees. That would be worse if he needed surgery, so I guess it makes me feel better,” Spurs coach Greg Popovich said. “They told us they thought it’d be six weeks before he could do anything, so it’s probably four to eight weeks.”

Tests showed Parker fractured the fourth metacarpal in his shooting hand Saturday during a victory at Memphis. He was averaging 16.5 points per game, but has been hobbled all season by a slew of injuries. Now the Spurs will be without their second-leading scorer until at least the playoffs.

Parker was not with the Spurs for Monday’s game at Cleveland. George Hill was expected to start in his place. San Antonio entered the night 36-24, five games behind Dallas in the Southwest Division.

“We haven’t had a great season so far, but we’re hoping we can turn it around,” Manu Ginobili said. “Then seeing Tony go down, it hurts. But who cares, right? The rest of the teams aren’t going to give us wins just because he’s hurt. We have to go there and compete and try to win anyway.”

Ginobili is in Monday’s starting lineup and is expected to play a little point guard behind Hill, but Popovich is more concerned with keeping his minutes in check. Ginobili has averaged 27.5 minutes this season as the Spurs try to keep he and Tim Duncan fresh for the playoffs, but Popovich conceded those minutes might increase over the next few weeks.

“No matter where we are at the end of the season, he and Timmy’s health are really important to us, as we’ve seen in the past,” Popovich said. “If one of those guys, including Tony, isn’t there, we’re not going anywhere. We have to have all three of them because that’s how our team is built. We have role players around those three.”