SAN ANTONIO – Tony Parker intends to play in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
The San Antonio Spurs open their rematch with the two-time defending champion Miami Heat on Thursday, and their standout point guard is nursing a balky left ankle.
“He’s getting better every day, and I expect him to play,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Tuesday.
Parker aggravated the injury Saturday, missing the second half of San Antonio’s series-clinching victory over Oklahoma City in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals.
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Parker didn’t practice Tuesday, but said he expects to be back Wednesday.
Parker is averaging a team-leading 17.2 points and 4.9 assists this postseason but has been bothered by injuries the past two rounds.
“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.”
Parker conceded the ankle has bothered him since San Antonio’s second-round series against Portland, although he did not divulge it at the time.
“I don’t like to talk about when I’m hurt,” he said. “I played on it for the whole series against Portland. That’s why I think my hamstring got hurt, because I was playing on a bad ankle.”
Parker had tightness in his left hamstring midway through the second quarter of Game 5 against the Trail Blazers, forcing him to miss the rest of the Spurs’ series-clinching victory.
He did not miss any of the Western Conference finals because of his hamstring. But he aggravated the ankle injury in Game 4 against Oklahoma City.
“I twisted it again, but didn’t say anything,” Parker said. “Played on it, and then Game 6 I think my body is like, ‘That’s enough.’ ”
• The Detroit Pistons hired Jeff Bower, 53, as general manager. He spent last season as coach at Marist College.
• Washington Wizards coach Randy Wittman, who guided the team to the playoffs for the first time since 2008, signed an extension.
The deal reportedly is for three years and about $3 million per season.
Wittman, 54, has the worst regular-season record of anyone who has coached at least 400 NBA games — 191-329, a .367 winning percentage — since the league started in 1946.