Duncan, Parker feeling healthy as Spurs begin camp
SAN ANTONIO -- Spurs guard Tony Parker said Friday the finger he broke last month while preparing for the FIBA World Championship is "100 percent."
Before leaving for 10 days of training camp in France, his home country, with the Spurs, Parker told reporters his right index finger was X-rayed Thursday.
"I'm fully healed, 100 percent, the bone is back to normal," Parker said. "The doctors told me I can go as hard as we can and practice normally."
Parker injured the finger in a tune-up game against Brazil in August, but doctors said he didn't need surgery.
Parker joked that when he told the Spurs about his finger, "it was not a phone call, it was just listening ... I didn't talk for that long."
Jokes aside, everyone has waited on the prognosis for Parker's finger as the Spurs look to move past their Game 7 overtime loss to the Mavericks in the Western Conference semifinals last season and toward a rematch at Dallas in their season opener Nov. 2.
"Everybody's got to go through Dallas until somebody beats them," said R.C. Buford, Spurs general manager.
Parker said the loss to Dallas is a motivator.
"So now we just have to get back to what we do," Parker said. "It's different when you're not the defending champs."
The team made several roster changes this summer, including trading center Rasho Nesterovic and cash to the Toronto Raptors for forwards Matt Bonner and Eric Williams and a second-round pick in 2009 and signing two centers -- 7-footer Francisco Elson and 6-foot-10 Jackie Butler -- after their top two centers departed. Nazr Mohammed signed with Detroit as a free agent.
"We've been working out with the guys and so far so good, but it's nothing until you get in a game situation and are able to see what they're going to do in a game situation," said forward Tim Duncan. "I like who we've added."
Duncan, who has also had his share of health problems, being hobbled by plantar fasciitis, also said he's "100 percent."
"I have no pain whatsoever," he said of his foot Friday.
The Spurs first preseason game is Thursday in Lyon-Villeurbanne, France. Their training camp roster stands at 20. The team's first home game during the regular season is Nov. 3 against Cleveland at the AT&T Center.
Beyond training camp next week and even the Mavs in early November, the Spurs have their eye on the same thing past champions always do: the next big win.
"I don't believe that the fact of not having won it last year is going to make people forget about us," guard Manu Ginobili said. "Everybody is going to be still thinking about the Spurs as being one of the contenders."
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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