Latest on Tony Parker's Injury Status for San Antonio Spurs NBA Finals Game 1

Tony Parker

The San Antonio point guard suffered an ankle injury against the Thunder, but plans to face the Miami Heat.

When Tony Parker went down with an ankle injury in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals, it looked as though the Spurs would face a struggle to make it to the NBA Finals.

In reality, San Antonio did not miss a beat with Parker missing, overcoming the Oklahoma City Thunder in overtime and advancing to take on the Miami Heat in a rematch of last year's thrilling series.

And there is good news now for the Spurs, as Parker is expected to make his recovery in time for Game 1 of the Finals.

Coach Gregg Popovich told reporters: “He's getting better every day, and I expect him to play.”

Parker backed his coach's assessment, saying: “I always try to be honest with Pop,” Parker said. “He knows, but if I'm 50 percent I'll try to play. If I'm under 50 percent, we can argue.”

The Spurs' backup point guard Patty Mills and sixth-man Manu Ginobili filled in well for Parker against the Thunder, with Ginobili in particular taking over the offense for San Antonio on the way to the 112-107 victory.

The Argentine guard, who struggled throughout last season's playoffs while playing through injury, has returned to form just in time for the Spurs this season and will certainly be more of a factor against the Heat.

Having Parker return to the lineup, however, will be a big boost to San Antonio's title hopes. The Frenchman is the heartbeat of Popovich's offense, and is a legitimate scoring threat on every possession that he is on the court.

His drives to the rim open up lanes for Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard, and if the Heat feel the need to send help defenders over to him this will free up Tim Duncan.

With homecourt advantage on their side the Spurs are going into these Finals as slight favourites with the bookies, and a healthy Parker will only help their chances.