The San Antonio Spurs have been unable to avoid the injury bug this year, specifically prior to the season. While they are already without starting point guard Dejounte Murray, the team will be even more shorthanded for Thursday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Gregg Popovich has essentially been forced to play musical chairs with his rotations at times and that seems unlikely to change in the televised matchup with Russell Westbrook and company.
As Jeff Garcia of News 4 San Antonio revealed, Popovich said forward Rudy Gay will miss at least the next two games prior to Wednesday’s matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies. This includes at least one of the two upcoming games against the Thunder.
Gay is dealing with a sprained wrist and it has led to Popovich and the Spurs opting to go bigger with their starting lineup for the most part. We’re going to take a look at the current state of San Antonio’s roster and also a positive message provided recently by the aforementioned Murray.
Spurs Roster & Starting Lineup vs. Thunder
*Notates expected starter
C: Pau Gasol*,Jakob Poeltl, Drew Eubanks
PF: LaMarcus Aldridge*, Davis Bertans
SF: DeMar DeRozan*, Dante Cunningham, Quincy Pondexter
SG: Bryn Forbes*, Marco Belinelli
PG: Derrick White*, Patty Mills
The Spurs have opted to start Jakob Poeltl, who was acquired in the Kawhi Leonard trade, at other points when Gay has missed time. He has six starts on the year while Davis Bertans has drawn four. Poeltl has been hit-or-miss to this point with the Spurs, and in the recent loss to the Grizzlies had just one point with three rebounds in 14 minutes.
For comparison’s sake, he scored 11 points with six rebounds in 17 minutes just two games before that against Memphis. On the season the 23-year-old former first-round pick has averaged 5.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
UPDATE: In this game, the Spurs have opted to go with Pau Gasol as the starter.
DeMar DeRozan has been the one primarily picking up additional work when Gay misses games, with LaMarcus Aldridge providing more as well. DeRozan has put together a superb season to this point, averaging 22.3 points with career-highs in both assists (6.4) and rebounds (6.1) per game.
Dejounte Murray Sends Positive Vibes
The first brutal blow for the Spurs ahead of the 2018-19 regular season came in a preseason game against the Houston Rockets. Murray drove to the hoop during the game, fell and held his leg immediately. The third-year guard proceeded to go to the locker room under his own power, but as NBA.com revealed, he suffered a torn ACL on the play.
Murray is expected to return during training camp prior to the 2019-20 season. While there hasn’t been much in terms of an official update since that news, the Spurs guard did provide a positive message for the fanbase on Twitter this week.
This came just prior to San Antonio’s game against Wednesday and received a whole lot of love from fans. While Murray won’t be back soon, the future is bright for the 22-year-old who took a step forward last season, averaging 8.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.