The San Antonio Spurs haven’t had much to complain about during their first-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Spurs are leading 3-0, and the vaunted “Big Three” of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili are looking healthy after another season in which they each battled minor injuries
Friday night, as the Spurs were dismantling a Lakers team decimated by injuries to its top four guards, the first potential roadblock on the Spurs’ quest for a fifth NBA championship reared its head. It came in the form of an ankle sprain to starting center Tiago Splitter.
Late in the third quarter, Splitter went down after stepping awkwardly as he and Lakers guard Darius Morris became tangled up near the basket. Splitter stayed down for several minutes, and Spurs trainers eventually assisted him to the locker room where he stayed for the remainder of the game. Luckily the Spurs didn’t need Splitter, as they went on to win the game 120-89.
Spurs beat writer Buck Harvey has reported that Splitter is likely to miss seven to 10 days with the injury, according to San Antonio’s medical staff. That timetable would work out well for the Spurs, as they can close out the series against the Lakers on Sunday. That would allow the injured Splitter, the aging Duncan and Ginobili, and the recovering Boris Diaw time to get healthy before their second-round series. The Spurs will likely face the winner of the hotly contested Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriros series, which could go six or seven games. San Antonio is surely pleased by the prospect of getting everyone back to full strength before they take their next step on the path to the finals.
In other injury news from the game, Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News reported that Metta World Peace says he will miss game four of the series after he has been largely ineffective in his return from having the meniscus in his right knee surgically repaired.
Injuries have played a huge part in the playoffs as key players like Kobe Bryant, Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo, Amare Stoudemire, Steve Nash, Danilo Gallinari, David Lee, and Danny Granger have missed some or all of the postseason so far. Chicago’s Derrick Rose is still sidelined from the knee injury he suffered during last year’s playoffs.