Tony Parker's got a grade-2 sprain, and that's what I had in July of 2011 (grade-1 is mild and grade-3 is severe). I walked through a giant airport terminal the very next day on mine. And granted I re-rolled it twice in the following month, but I got around pretty good after about 10 days. No, I'm not an NBA player, but I think Tony can come back from this sooner than 4 weeks. The month of March will surely be interesting.
Below is the entire remaining schedule. There is a big 7-game stretch right around the time he'll be close to coming back. But Wed, Mar. 27 vs. Denver is when I would think his target date should be. I have put the current playoff seeds next to the teams' names.
I'm pretty optimistic that we can go 4-1 or 5-0 against DET, POR, MIN, DAL, and CLE.. i.e. the next 5 games against non-playoff opponents. I genuinely hope that Pop chooses to start - and lean on - Patty Mills, rather than De Colo or Joseph. It would be an incredible coming out party if Cory Joseph started these games, and became a sudden star, but I don't think he's ready for it. Not at all. And I doubt it would happen, either. It's too big a gamble. I think it's better to use him off the bench, and not put too much pressure on him. Patty needs to show him the ropes about this "spark" thing that he has going on.
With that said, I think Manu made a gigantic statement with his 14 assists Friday night. He can run the team at the point just about as well as Tony. So Manu's role has certainly changed to one of considerably-increased point guard duties. But I think Pop should still bring him off the bench as usual, expecting him to log 30 minutes, but allow Patty Mills to start. Manu still has to be shooting guard when Danny Green is resting! So we've still got FIVE guys who can run the PG position (Manu, Mills, Neal, De Colo, and Joseph - in that order).. and that's why I say De Colo's & Joseph's minutes should only be around 10-12, with Mills getting about 15. Remember Gary Neal will be back very soon, and I expect Pop to lean more towards starting him at the point than I would.
We're 1-1 with OKC, so I wouldn't be too upset if March 11 is a loss. Then again it is at home.. We'll have a 4th chance to even it back up at 2-2, or go up 3-1. But that game against Miami on March 31 has got to be the absolute latest of Tony's target dates. We need to win that game.
All in all I don't think we're in as bad a shape as a lot of people are saying. (We are 7-7 without Tony in the last 3 seasons, or something.. etc..) Given Tony comes back for the Miami game, I don't see us going any worse than 8-4 in his absence. Hopefully he'll be back for Denver, but we could possibly pull-out 9-3 or even 10-2 in this same stretch, if he doesn't.