Seeing Tony Parker running on a treadmill at the practice facility has encouraged the Spurs that it won’t take him a full four weeks to recover from a Grade 2 left ankle sprain and return to action.

But veteran guard Manu Ginobili has been around coach Gregg Popovich long enough to understand the importance of not rushing Parker back, no matter how much the team may struggle without him.

The Spurs are 2-1 since Parker suffered the injury March 1.

“We need Tony back as soon as possible, but at the same time, feeling good,” Ginobili said. “We can’t have him limping or not being him. So it’s great to see him running already and we are counting the days.”

Count Ginoibli among those hoping Parker can beat the four weeks the medical staff originally predicted he’d be out.

“The team knew that even though we won the first two without him, it didn’t mean anything,” Ginobili said. “That’s usually what happens when you have a player down: Other players step up and there’s the emotion. But in the long term it is going to hurt you.”