AP – Australia’s Patty Mills is set to play an even bigger role in the San Antonio Spurs’ NBA title quest after leading point guard Tony Parker was sidelined.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said 31-year-old All-Star Parker, who has played in 47 games for the NBA’s Southwest division leaders this season, was suffering “a variety of maladies” and would be out of action “for the forseeable future”.
“He has got a lot of little things,” Popovich told reporters ahead of Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers.
“Basically a lot of basketball the last three years, all season long, all summer long, it has caught up to him.”
Parker has pursued a hectic schedule, playing for the French national team between NBA seasons the past three years, earning Most Valuable Player honours at last year’s European championships.
Mills is likely to be the biggest beneficiary of Parker’s plight, having already been used extensively off the bench in all but one game Parker has missed.
In his last seven matches, the Australian is averaging 16.1 points, three rebounds, and two assists while playing 20.7 minutes for the Spurs, who reached the All-Star Game break at 38-15 – the second-best record in the Western Conference and fourth-best in the league.
Parker is averaging 17.7 points and 6.2 assists. He scored four points and grabbed two rebounds in just over 11 minutes in Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game but had been sidelined before that with a sore lower back.
He is also thought to be dealing with calf and groin injuries as well as assorted bruises.
Less than a fortnight ago he scored a season-high 32 points in the Spurs’ victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.