Can the Spurs remain healthy in bid for NBA title?
In spite of all the calls ahead of the season that the San Antonio Spurs needed rebuilding, Gregg Popovich’s team have proved their critics wrong all year.
Doubters suggested that father time would finally catch up with the likes of Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, and that the Spurs were a spent force. Yet consistently over the season San Antonio showed otherwise as they topped the Western Conference.
However, a dip in recent weeks has coincided with several key components of the roster going down with injury. With the post season on the horizon, there is now real substance to the question marks that hung over them at the start of the campaign.
Popovich faces real headaches across the roster, as his starting line-up are all struggling with on-going issues that are disrupting their preparations for the post season.
They slipped to consecutive defeats on Monday following the loss to the Golden State Warriors, and are 4-6 in their last 10 games.
Point guard Tony Parker (sore neck, left ankle) was rested against the Warriors, as were Duncan (sore left knee) and small forward Kawhi Leonard (sore left knee). The Spurs were also without Ginobili who has been absent since the end of March with a hamstring strain, while Boris Diaw is out until the second-round of the play-offs following back surgery.
While the first three in that long injury list are expected to take to the court against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the regular season finale on Wednesday night, it is far from an ideal situation that the Spurs currently find themselves in.
Even when playing, Parker has struggled to get his shooting going in recent weeks, while Duncan has picked up the load and played beyond expectations.
Whether they can continue to rely on that strategy to work across a seven-game series remains to be seen but it would be undoubtedly preferred that key players were in top shape and form.
San Antonio will face either the Warriors or the Houston Rockets in the opening round of the play-offs, and while the major issue should be how to navigate their way past their Western rivals, currently all the attention is on who will be fit or not.