San Antonio Spurs backup point guard Derrick White was violently knocked to the ground by Dwight Howard on Sunday evening. Although he was able to return to the eventual loss against the Los Angeles Lakers, the injury update isn’t good news for the Spurs as White has been added to the injury report for the road game against the Atlanta Hawks with a bruised right glute.
Here’s the video of White colliding with Howard:
The play was reviewed but the backup center for the Lakers wasn’t assessed a flagrant foul, only a personal foul. After the foul, White has able to shoot his free throws. He was then subbed out of the game and headed to the locker room. However, White returned late in the fourth quarter after Dejounte Murray was forced to sit due to his minutes restriction.
Derrick White’s Importance Against the Atlanta Hawks
If the injury forces White to sit out the Hawks game, that would be a big loss for the Spurs considering White defended Trae Young so well last season. In the two games between the Spurs and the Hawks during the 2018-19 campaign, Young shot just 33.3% from the field against San Antonio and hit only 1-of-13 three-point attempts. That was largely due to White’s defense, as he blocked eight shots in the two games against Atlanta.
White, on the other hand, dominated the Hawks last season on the offensive side, too. In the two games, he averaged 20.5 points and 6.0 assists, while hitting 18-of-23 shots from the field and all four of his three-point attempts. To say White outplayed Young last season would be a massive understatement.
While Murray should be able to pick up the slack defensively for the minutes he’s on the court, the defensive drop off behind him if White isn’t able to go could ignite the second year point guard for the Hawks. Patty Mills would likely be the one who would defend Young in White’s absence, which is obviously quite a downgrade defensively.
After playing poorly for much of preseason, White has turned it on once the bright lights of the regular season starting shining. In the six games, the 25-year-old is averaging 13.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists on 55.8% shooting from the field — and he has connected on 6-of-12 three-pointers. He has essentially split time with Murray, as Murray averages 23.4 minutes and White averages 23.7 minutes.