The Spurs were playing the Mavericks on the road Friday night without All-Star big man and team captain Tim Duncan, out for a second game with a sore left knee.

That was daunting enough.

A few minutes into the game things got really scary.

Driving to the basket at full speed with 9:38 left in the first quarter, Spurs point guard Tony Parker, the team's top scorer and assist man, dropped to the court in a heap, clutching the left side of his face.

When play finally came to a halt at the other end of the court, a timeout was called for what the league calls infectious disease control — since blood was coming from Parker's left eyelid and above his left eyebrow.

Coach Gregg Popovich, at home and still feeling awful with some sort of bug, likely felt even worse as he watched the telecast of Parker, daubing at the blood as he walked to the locker room.

The Spurs' coach and Parker's teammates were relieved when the five-time All-Star returned to the bench in the second quarter, the laceration on his eyelid closed with three stitches.

They felt even better after his game-high 23 points and 10 assists helped the Spurs (35-11) score their seventh straight victory, a 113-107 final margin hardly indicative of the Spurs' domination at American ?? Airlines Center.

The Spurs, who led by as many as 26 and were up by double digits through most of the second half, are now 2-0 under acting coach Mike Budenholzer, who has no misconceptions that his boss could some day be referred to as "Wally Pop."