Parker likely to play tonight against Jazz

Published: Friday, March 22 2013 1:35 p.m. MDT

SAN ANTONIO — Word that Tony Parker is likely to play for San Antonio Friday night isn’t good news for the struggling Utah Jazz, but it isn’t causing any extra consternation for coach Tyrone Corbin.

The Jazz have their hands full every time they come to play at the AT&T Center, where they’ve only won twice since it opened in 2002.

Corbin said it really doesn’t matter who’s on the floor for the Spurs because they’re such a good overall team.

“This is a machine, they’ve been together for so long,’’ Corbin said. “They’re better when all their guys are there, but when they miss a guy for a game or two they seem to roll right along and because they plug another guy in and the other guys pick it up as a result.’’

Parker suffered a grade 2 ankle sprain in a game against Sacramento on March 1 and was expected to be out four weeks, but has been practicing this week and participated in 5-on-5 drills Thursday.

The Spurs have gone 6-2 with Parker out with both losses ugly — a 30-point home loss to Portland and a 24-point road loss at Minnesota. That can happen when Cory Joseph is your point guard, but the Jazz apparently won’t have the luxury of going against Joseph instead of Parker.

Corbin said the Jazz won’t change their lineup against the Spurs and expects to go with the same lineup he’s used the past three games, with Gordon Hayward starting at forward with Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson in the middle and Randy Foye and Mo Williams on the guardline.

Don’t be surprised if Alec Burks is the backup point guard ahead of Jamaal Tinsley and Earl Watson after his strong play Wednesday in Houston when he spurred a late comeback bid against the Rockets.

After Friday’s game, the Jazz complete their road trip with a game at Dallas on Sunday.

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