San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker watched the second half of his team’s series-clinching win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday from the bench due to a balky ankle. Though Gregg Popovich seemed unsure of his point guard’s status going forward at the time, the Spurs are now confident that Parker will be healthy enough to play in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night.
“He’s getting better every day, and I expect him to play,” Popovich told reporters today. Parker didn’t practice on Tuesday, but expects to be back in action tomorrow.
Parker has reportedly been bothered by the ankle since San Antonio’s Western Conference Semifinal series with the Portland Trailblazers. He only missed game time against the Thunder, however, after aggravating the injury midway through a Game 4 loss.
“I always try to be honest with Pop,” he told the AP. “He knows, but if I’m 50 percent I’ll try to play. If I’m under 50 percent, we can argue.”
This comes as refreshing news given Parker’s uncertain status following the Western Conference Finals. Though the Spurs have performed exceptionally well in his absence of late – San Antonio went 11-3 during the regular season without Parker – they are certainly a better team with Parker in the lineup.
Parker averaged 15.7 points and 6.4 assists per game on 41.2% shooting during the 2013 Finals, marks well below his recent and career norms. He was hobbled down the stretch of that series, though, after suffering a hamstring injury in a Game 3 victory. While the Spurs don’t necessarily need Parker at his best to dethrone the Miami Heat in this epic rematch, they’re no doubt happy his health has improved.
One can even imagine Popovich making a face like this upon learning the news:
(GIF via PlasticBlakeandwhitefinch)
Do you think Parker will play better against Miami this time around?
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