NBA: Tony Parker denies retirement rumors, expects to return by January
Tony Parker’s 2017 playoff run with the San Antonio Spurs came to an abrupt end earlier this month, after he ruptured his left quadriceps tendon during their Western Conference Semifinals match-up with the Houston Rockets.
Some fans and pundits alike have asked whether the four-time NBA champion, who is now 35 years old, still has what it takes to return to the hardwood after a serious injury.
Silencing his critics, Parker shrugged off retirement rumors and even vowed to return even stronger than ever.
“I will play my best basketball when I return in January,” he was quoted as saying in a EuroHoops report, via French media outlet L’Equipe.
Parker was among those who benefited from Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich’s ploy of managing his aging players’ minutes throughout the season, to get them ready for the post season.
“The first thing that came in when I got injured was frustration,” he said. “I was super-good, and we had the chance to go until the end and get the title. The coach’s plan worked like a clock. I was consistent, playing for 20-25 minutes per game. My series against Memphis was good, and I had a good start to the season.”
With 16 NBA seasons under his belt, Parker has certainly lost a step, but continues to be a factor for the perennial Western conference powerhouse, averaging 10.1 points and 4.5 assists in 25.2 minutes per game this year.
His back-court running mate, the 39-year-old Manu Ginobili, is widely expected to follow the footsteps of the retired Tim Duncan and hang up his jersey this year. Khristian Ibarrola /ra
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