Tony Parker says return was driven by 'love of game;' Hints at Kawhi Leonard's return

(AP Photo/Darren Abate)
(AP Photo/Darren Abate)

SAN ANTONIO – Tony Parker is back. The San Antonio Spurs All-Star point guard will be on the floor Monday night against the Dallas Mavericks for the first time since he suffered a torn quad injury during Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets.

Parker has spent the last seven months rehabbing the injury. He said it was definitely the hardest thing he had to do in his career.

The discipline and hard work it took to get back to a point where he could play again.

There were many who thought this day would never come, given the nature of the injury and Parker's age, 35. That included some doctors.

"I am just happy to go out there and just play and just be back," Parker said. "I'm just happy because half of the doctors said I would not even play basketball anymore, I'm just happy to be out there.

Parker said he did not know if he would start or how many minutes head coach Gregg Popovich would let him play. Parker said he was driven by "the love of the game."

Parker said he could have actually returned two weeks ago but the team was doing well and there were still some things he wanted to work on.

"I felt like I had some little stuff I wanted to get better, I could have but the team is doing great," Parker said. "I am just going to try and come back and help even more."

On the day Parker makes his return, Kawhi Leonard continues to rehab his injury.

The early speculation was Leonard would be back before Parker and that didn't happen, but Parker said that Leonard is not too far behind.

"He's been looking good the last two or three practices, he's looking pretty good," Parker said. "But like I said a couple weeks, three weeks, they are not going to take any risk."

In the meantime, Parker is ready eventhough it may feel like somewhat starting over.

"I feel a little bit like a rookie like it's my first game, seven months is a long time," Parker said.

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