SAN ANTONIO -- After missing the first 19 games of the season because of injury, one of the San Antonio Spurs' key pieces will be back in the lineup when they host the Dallas Mavericks on Monday.
It's just not the player the Spurs expected to be the first to return.
Venerable point guard Tony Parker announced on his Facebook page on Sunday that he would play against the Mavericks, marking his first game action since he underwent surgery to repair the torn left quadriceps he suffered in the playoffs last spring against Houston.
"Get ready Spurs Nation, I'm coming back on tomorrow's game against Dallas," Parker wrote on Facebook. "I'm really excited to play again. It has been some tough months with a lot of recovery, patience, and mental strength. I wanted to thank everyone who believed in my return."
The Spurs then almost confirmed Parker's return, upgrading him for out to questionable for the contest.
There's been no update on when the Spurs' other high-profile injured player, star forward Kawhi Leonard, will return for San Antonio. The team's injury report lists Leonard, who hasn't played yet this season because of right quadriceps tendinopathy, and rookie guard Derrick White (right wrist fracture) as out for the Dallas game on Monday.
Leonard has missed all 19 games this year, one more than in the previous two regular seasons combined.
San Antonio (12-7) heads home after a 106-86 win at Charlotte on Saturday, taking advantage of the Hornets' weary and lackluster performance on the second night of back-to-game games.
The Spurs led 40-29 halftime lead by holding the Hornets to 22.2 percent shooting in the first half, on 10 of 45, pushed their advantage to 72-58 after three quarters and to as many as 20 points on several occasions in the fourth.
Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge led a balanced attack with 17 points each. Rudy Gay scored 15, Kyle Anderson added 14, Manu Ginobili scored 11 and Patty Mills finished with 10 for the Spurs.
"We were a little lagging early in the game, but then we started making shots and got more aggressive," Ginobili said. "We started running the court well and our game flourished. But it wasn't a great game. They struggled. They shot really poorly. So, we played an okay game. The main thing was in the second half we made more shots and it made things easier."
Dallas travels south to the Alamo City for the first time this season after rolling to a 97-81 home victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday. The Mavericks held Oklahoma City to a combined 31 points in over the second and third quarters, including just 13 in the second, the fewest they've allowed in a single period this season.
The Mavericks (5-15) were led by Dirk Nowitzki's season-high 19 points total that included 4 of 7 from beyond the 3-point arc and have won three of their past four contests. Saturday's victory marked the first time Dallas has posted consecutive wins this year.
Dallas closed the third quarter on a 15-2 run to take a 78-55 lead heading into the fourth.
"Tonight was all about will and chemistry and sticking together," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "Oklahoma City has three guys that are just flat-out great players, and we are a team that is made up of our collective units."
Dallas got double-digit scoring against the Thunder from five players as rookie-of-the-year candidate Dennis Smith Jr. had 15 points, Harrison Barnes scored 12 points and took 12 rebounds and Wesley Matthews hit for 12 points, all on 3-pointers. J.J. Barea came off the bench to add 10 points for the Mavericks.
"We get some shots and we got a little more energy, a little more pep in our step," Nowitzki said. "We just have to build on that and get better as a team, stay fresh. The schedule is finally turning in our favor."
Mavericks guard Seth Curry has been ruled out for the rest of November. Carlisle said Curry, who has yet to play this season because of a leg stress fracture, has been doing some on-court work, but has yet to participate in a full practice.