Tony Parker will play Game 1 of NBA Finals
Star guard first got dinged in Portland series
Tony Parker's left ankle is ready for the NBA Finals.
The San Antonio point guard has pronounced himself ready to go for Thursday night's Game 1 of the title series against the Miami Heat, after spending much of the last few days recovering from a sprain.
"I think he'll be fine," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
Parker acknowledged that he still has some concerns about how the ankle will hold up over the course of the finals. He and Popovich both indicated in recent days that treatment has helped considerably.
"I'm trying to be very positive," Parker said. "I'm trying to do everything I can, eat healthy, get my rest, go through treatment and just trust my body. I've been going for four years nonstop since 2010, no vacation. ... But I'm still here and I trust my body to hold up for the whole series."
The Heat expect nothing less than the best of Parker.
"Definitely, he'll be 100 per cent," Heat guard Mario Chalmers said. "I doubt he'll sit out any time during the finals."
Parker sprained the ankle in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals against Oklahoma City, then aggravated the injury in Game 5 of that series. He tried to play in Game 6 and made it through the first half, before the Spurs decided at halftime that his night was over.
San Antonio was outscored by 11 points when Parker was on the floor in Game 6 against the Thunder, and rallied in the second half anyway. The Spurs scored 37 points in the third quarter — their second-highest total during that period in 100 games this season — and went on to win in overtime to clinch their second straight trip to the finals.
That meant Parker didn't have to play a Game 7 against the Thunder, and could just rehab instead.
"That was huge," Parker said. "These five days were very helpful for me. I'm so proud of my teammates."
The Spurs were 13-6 in their first 19 games with Parker against the Heat; they're 4-6 since, in part because Miami has been able to frustrate him at times.
Over his last 10 appearances against Miami, Parker is shooting 40 per cent, including efforts of 5-for-14, 4-for-14, 6-for-23 and 3-for-12.
"Tony has a specific game plan that he runs within his team," Chalmers said. "He's not as unpredictable as like a Russell Westbrook or somebody, but he's not as predictable as any other point guard. So you've got to be aware of everything with Tony."