Parker (hamstring) status uncertain for Game 4

Parker (hamstring) status uncertain for Game 4
June 12, 2013, 3:45 pm
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SAN ANTONIO — Tony Parker got a bit of good news on Wednesday when he learned he had a Grade 1 stained hamstring injury -- the least prohibitive of the three grades of hamstring injuries.

However, that doesn't necessarily mean he will be on the floor for San Antonio's Game 4 matchup against the Miami Heat on Thursday night.

The Spurs lead the best-of-seven series two games to one.

Parker, who had an MRI performed on the hamstring Wednesday morning, remains hopeful that he will be healthy enough to suit up for Game 4.

"I was just hoping that it was not a tear," Parker said. "The good news is it's not a tear."

That would have ended his NBA Finals run, for sure.

But even a Grade 1 strained hamstring has the potential to sideline him for Game 4 and potentially the remainder of the series.

Although it is the mildest form of the three grades of hamstring injuries, the recovery time for such an injury ranges from a few days to a couple of weeks.

"We'll just have to see how I feel tomorrow," Parker said.

Plenty of rest and ice is in Parker's near future. As far as whether he will do any on-the-court action before Thursday night's game, that too remains up in the air.

"I'll do different stuff to see how I feel," Parker said. "It depends on when I wake up tomorrow morning, how I feel."

If Parker is unable to play or is limited, the focus on the Spurs will shift even more on Tim Duncan an Manu Ginobili than it does now.

"I think it will automatically swing that way," Duncan said. "I don't think I would put it on myself per se, but it will kind of come that way. The responsibility will fall on my shoulders more, obviouslu, and Manu as well. So we both will try to step up even more in the absence of his."

While no Parker would certainly aid the Heat's chances of evening this series on Thursday night, Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said he hopes Parker plays.

"We want both teams to be healthy," Spoelstra said. "We don't want any excuses and they don't want any excuses, either."

No Parker likely means more playing time for second-year guard Cory Joseph.

Joseph, a prep school roommate of Celtics guard Avery Bradley, is averaging 3.3 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists while seeing limited action in the first three games of the Finals.

"You try to focus on this game just like you would any other game," said Joseph, who is a second cousin of former Celtics draft pick Kris Joseph. "Every game's important. We just have to go out there and play strong."

And there's a chance that Joseph may be called upon to fill that role more than ever with Parker's status in limbo.

"I can't tell you how much or how little he's going to play," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "I can always count on him being a competitor in every way, shape and form every night. That's what we like about him the most."

Added Parker: "Cory's been playing very well for us throughout the whole playoffs. He's been battling to get that backup position. I think he's doing a great job."