NBA Finals: San Antonio’s Tony Parker hopes ankle will hold up against Miami


San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker passes the ball during basketball practice on Wednesday, June 4, 2014 in San Antonio. The Spurs play Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat on Thursday. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio Spurs all-star point guard Tony Parker has ruled himself ready for Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday, but he isn’t sure how his injured left ankle will hold up during what is expected to be a long series against the Miami Heat. Parker admitted that he has some fear about remaining healthy with an injury that has been nagging him since the first round.

“A little bit, a little bit because you never know how it’s going to feel,” Parker said. “But I’m trying to be very positive, trying to do everything I can, eat healthy, get my rest, do all the treatment.  I just trust my body, I’ve been playing for four years nonstop, since 2010, no vacation, made three conference finals, made two finals with the [French] national team so we always go all the way. But I’m very proud, my body, and, yes, I had little stuff, wear and tear, but I’m still here and I trust my body to hold up for the whole series.”

Parker is leading the Spurs in scoring (17.2 points) and assists (4.9) this postseason, despite being limited by ankle and hamstring injuries in the past two rounds.  The Spurs were able to survive the second half and overtime of the deciding Game 6 against the Oklahoma City Thunder as Cory Joseph and Patty Mills filled in admirably. But the Spurs will struggle to get revenge against Miami if Parker is hobbled.

Parker’s quickness and slithery style put pressure on the Heat last season and his play served as a solid barometer of the Spurs’ performance. Parker scored 21 points in Game 1 – when he spun like top, hit the floor and buried the decisive jumper over LeBron James in the final seconds – and had a series high 26 points in Game 5. In his lone dud of the series, Parker scored six points and took just five shots before leaving the game with a hamstring injury but the Spurs still recorded a 36-point blowout in Game 3.

In the four losses, Parker averaged just 14.2 points and shot an abysmal 14 of 49 (28.6 percent) from the field. In Games 6 and 7, Parker missed 26 of his 35 attempts from the field and the Spurs lost by a combined 10 points.

Parker first tweaked his ankle in the Spurs’ first-round series against the Dallas, which he said contributed to a left hamstring injury in the second round against Portland. He played in every game of the conference finals despite having problems with his ankle, then sprained it in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals. He tried to keep playing through the injury until it became unbearable.

The Spurs haven’t played since last Saturday and Parker said the time off has been “huge” for his recovery. “I was proud of my teammate to get it done for OKC because those five days made the difference for me to be ready for Game 1,” he said.

Michael Lee is the national basketball writer for The Washington Post.

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Brandon Parker · June 5, 2014

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