by Marcel Mutoni

It is times like these when one begins to understand the reasons behind Gregg Popovich occasionally sporting a beard befitting a man quietly assembling bombs in a log cabin somewhere.

The stress involved with having to watch two of his three stars partake in international hoops annually – where they at times suffer catastrophic injuries – would be enough to drive anyone a little batty.

The good news for Popovich and the rest of the San Antonio Spurs organization, is that Tony Parker’s injury, according to TP, is considered to be relatively minor. The Express-News reports:

According to French sports newspaper L’Equipe, Parker left the game on a crutch after 12 minutes with a sharp pain in his right thigh after colliding with Austria’s Stjepan Stazic. Though that injury soon subsided, Parker’s right ankle became swollen. By Saturday morning, it was clear the ankle was the greater issue.

In a statement released by the French Basketball Federation, Parker said that the collision caused “a blow to my thigh, and my ankle also turned.” Parker described the MRI of his ankle as “reassuring,” calling the injury “a minor sprain, without any ligament damage.”

Parker is expected to be ready when France’s Eurobasket 2009 qualification effort gets back under way on Aug. 5 against Italy in Cagliari.

Here’s to hoping that Popovich is somewhere, with absolutely no access to the news.