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Parker returns from injury; Thomas expected to join team during weekend

MINNEAPOLIS -- Tony Parker returned to the San Antonio Spurs' lineup in Thursday night's 100-99 victory over the Timberwolves.

Parker came back after missing three weeks because of an ankle injury. The point guard entered the game with 5:40 left in the first quarter and scored eight points on 3-for-7 shooting. Spurs coach Greg Popovich said before the game that he plans to work Parker into the lineup slowly and only played him 19 minutes.

Popovich also said he expects newly acquired big man Kurt Thomas to join the team sometime this weekend.

"Kurt Thomas is someone we've tried to get on our team since he was a Knick," Popovich said. "It's been a long struggle. We can use his experience inside."

Center Theo Ratliff will make his return for Minnesota.

Ratliff was acquired in the Kevin Garnett trade and has missed the last 45 games with a right knee injury. The team will use the remainder of the season to see if the shot blocker fits into its long-term plans.

"I'm going to do a Brett Favre," Ratliff said. "Every year I'm going to retire."