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Thursday, March 22, 2012
Will Jason Kidd, Mavs miss Spurs' Tony Parker?

By Jeff Caplan

San Antonio Spurs All-Star point guard, leading scorer and closet MVP candidate Tony Parker left Wednesday's win against Minnesota in the second quarter with tightness in his left hamstring.

Parker did not return and his status for Friday's game against the Dallas Mavericks, their second matchup in a week, is up in the air. Parker, 29, is averaging 19.6 points and a career-high 8.0 assists.

In the Mavs' 106-99 win last Saturday, Rodrigue Beaubois helped to limit Parker to 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting. He did have 11 assists but was not his pervasive, problematic penetrating self.

If Parker is out, it comes at a bad time for the Spurs. They begin their only back-to-back-to-back of the season against the Mavs, followed by a short trip to New Orleans on Saturday and back home against Philadelphia on Sunday.

The severity of Parker's injury was deemed to be mild. The Spurs will know more today.

At least one Spurs player, guard Gary Neal, predicted Parker will be back to face the nemesis Mavs.

"I think Tony will be back with that one,” Neal told the San Antonio Express-News. "If I was a betting man, I’d say he’ll be back."

After the Spurs dropped last Saturday's game at the American Airlines Center, Parker excused it as more or less a schedule loss coming after a "playoff atmosphere" win at Oklahoma City the night before. He then handed out something of backhanded compliment to Jason Kidd, who hit four 3-pointers and had 14 points, just his fourth double-digit scoring game of the season.

Offered Parker: "He shot the ball well and we didn’t expect that. I give him credit on having one of his biggest offensive games of the year and he shot the ball well."

Kidd probably wouldn't mind poking Parker again on the night he turns 39.

If Parker is sidelined, it might increase the Mavs' chances of winning, but it sure won't be as much fun.