Tony Parker says he's 'hurt' he couldn't show Spurs he can still play

San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (9) drives around Dallas Mavericks forward Maximilian Kleber (42) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Nov. 27, 2017, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Monday night in San Antonio will mark the return of former San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker in what will be an emotional return.

After 17 seasons, Parker inked a free agent deal with the Charlotte Hornets in the offseason where he is averaging 9.4 points, and 3.8 assists in 18 minutes per game.

Not the stats he posted during his time in San Antonio but for Parker, leaving San Antonio without a chance to show the team that drafted him in 2001 he could still play stung.

In an article from ESPN, Parker touched on leaving the Spurs and how he rushed back from quadriceps for the team.

"I worked so hard to come back that it hurt me a little bit to not be able to show the Spurs I can still play," Parker says. "I knew if I wanted to come back at the same level, I had to be patient and be out 10 or 11 months. But I wasn't ready to do that. That's why I rushed it. I'm not going to say it didn't hurt. Last year, I tried to come back fast, tried to do it for the Spurs and sacrificed my body to come back. Maybe now, I should have waited.
"But I'm not the type of guy who regrets. I will always love the Spurs. I have no grudges."

Parker was injured against the Houston Rockets in the 2017 Western Conference semifinals. He would later undergo a rigorous rehabilitation and return way ahead of schedule last season. He would eventually hand the starting point guard reigns to Dejounte Murray.

Parker also spoke on how the Spurs did not think he'd leave the franchise. He went on to tell how he was ready to depart San Antonio for Charlotte knowing he can still play at a high level.

"So then I called him (Hornets' James Borrego) again two or three days after that and told him: 'I'm not saying this to get an offer for the Spurs to match. You give me an offer, and I'll sign right away. I'm not even going to bring it to the Spurs.'"

Parker will be welcomed with open arms tonight when the Hornets make their lone visit to San Antonio. He'll likely get a tribute video, be met with applause and love from his former teammates and coaches.

Though, it will be odd to see him without the Spurs' colors he wore admirably since 18 years old.


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