Spurs Parker to start; missed 5 straight with hamstring
SAN ANTONIO (AP) San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker started but played just 13 minutes Tuesday night in a loss against the Detroit Pistons in his third attempt to get back on the court after straining his left hamstring.
Parker had missed 13 games total since initially suffering the injury Dec. 5 at Memphis. Parker had missed five straight games since aggravating the injury for a second time Dec. 25 against Oklahoma City.
''It's been very frustrating,'' Parker said. ''It's never happened to me before for that long, but it happens. Hopefully it's behind me and the last treatment I did is hopefully the good one and now I can put it behind me and just get back to playing and playing good basketball.''
Parker was 0-for-3 shooting and had just two assists, not playing in the second half, but he did not appear to aggravate the injury - great news for the defending NBA champion Spurs. The Pistons beat the Spurs 105-104 on a last-second shot.
Parker did not talk to the media after the game.
Coach Gregg Popovich, when asked if his point guard was OK, said, ''Yeah, he's healthy.''
''He wanted to play, but I'm being conservative,'' Popovich said. ''He had 13 minutes. That's good after sitting out as long as he did; make sure he doesn't reinjure the thing.''
Parker initially attempted to return after three games, but returned to the sidelines.
Parker said he has to do some extra stretching and warming up to try to prevent the problem from coming back.
San Antonio was 6-7 overall without Parker.