VIDEO: Tony Parker speaks after shootaround before Game 1
SAN ANTONIO — Boris Diaw is no doctor, but he seemed pretty confident in his diagnosis Thursday morning that the most important ankle of the NBA Finals is ready for action.
“Seems to be fine, 100 percent,” Diaw said of the sprained left ankle that belongs to San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker. “Don’t see any setbacks.”
Parker wasn’t quite as optimistic following the team’s shootaround on the morning of Game 1 (9 ET, ABC). Parker wouldn’t designate a percentage of health for the ankle that kept him out of the second half of the Western Conference finals series-clinching Game 6 last Saturday night.
“Good, better, we’ll see tonight,” was Parker’s answer to how the ankle felt.
He said he still has yet to test it full speed.
“I am just going to wait until tonight to test it full speed,” Parker said.
The Spurs might be able to survive a half without their floor general, but to think they can beat the two-time champion Miami Heat in a seven-game series without Parker at near peak performance would be a stretch.
His sneaky ability to snake through defenders, get to the rim for scoop shots or kick it out to open 3-point shooters is critical to the Spurs’ precision movement offense.
“He’s the key to their team,” Heat point guard Mario Chalmers said. “When he gets going he gets the whole team going. So my main focus is just try to limit his easy looks, apply as much pressure to him as I can and make him work at both ends.
“He plays at his own pace, that’s the main thing about Tony. He’s never rushed, he takes his time. He’s fast, but a lot of people don’t respect his fast. That’s one thing we’ve got to do, and he’s a great finisher.”
Chalmers said he plans to force Parker to put his ankle to the test early.
“Just push him, see how he reacts to his ankle or whatever it is, and just go from there,” Chalmers said.
Parker said his ailing ankle doesn’t affect his confidence, even if he says he still can’t be sure it will hold up.
“I hope so,” Parker said. “I’ll know for sure tonight.”