The San Antonio Spurs are continuing their preparations for the 2020-21 NBA season. LaMarcus Aldridge is back in the lineup after he was absent from the bubble due to season-ending surgery. However, the team is still without several young players who are key members of the roster. Just ahead of the team’s second preseason game, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich provided an injury update for Keldon Johnson and Derrick White with the pair not expected back until possibly early next year.
Gregg Popovich comments on Keldon Johnson and Derrick White injury situations
The Spurs are lacking two key roster members and the season is set to begin next week. Keldon Johnson has been out with a left foot injury, while Derrick White is sidelined with a left second toe injury. Ahead of Tuesday’s preseason game against the Houston Rockets, coach Popovich said they might not be back “for the next couple of weeks.”
Adding to his update, Pop said that White is a bit further behind in terms of his progress to return. Johnson has been able to participate in 3-on-3 workouts with the team. However, White isn’t able to get out on the court just yet and his injury recovery is taking longer.
Johnson is heading into his sophomore season with the Spurs. He averaged 9.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 0.9 assists per game with 59.6 percent field goal shooting in 17 games as a rookie.
White is going into his fourth season with San Antonio. He averaged double-digit scoring for the first time in his career last season, putting up 11.3 points a game. White also averaged 3.5 assists and 3.3 rebounds in 24.7 minutes per game. Both players were participants during the NBA restart at the bubble site in Florida.
Rookie Devin Vassell Picking up More Playing Time
San Antonio adjusted their lineup in an interesting way during the NBA bubble games as they moved DeMar DeRozan to power forward. That allowed other players to get more playing time. There was speculation that the Spurs might go with this sort of “small ball” lineup again for the upcoming season. That would mean having LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan as starters, alongside Keldon Johnson, Derrick White, and Dejounte Murray.
With Johnson and White injured and out of action for several more weeks, it could mean that rookie Devin Vassell continues to get some serious playing time. He played 25 minutes off the bench against the Thunder in the team’s first preseason game and logged 12 points, six rebounds, three steals, two assists, and a block.
The rookie got 32 minutes in the team’s recent loss to the Houston Rockets. He ended up with 11 points, four rebounds, and four steals off the bench in that time on the court.
The San Antonio Spurs have a final preseason game on Thursday against the Houston Rockets. Head coach Gregg Popovich has said this could give a look at the team’s opening night rotation that they’ll go with for the first game of the season. That first game takes place on December 23 against the Memphis Grizzlies.