The San Antonio Spurs will be without LaMarcus Aldridge on Sunday on the road against the Detroit Pistons. Aldridge stayed behind in San Antonio for the one-game road trip with what the team is calling right thigh soreness.
Aldridge played in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers, so it’s unlikely this is a serious injury. In fact, the Spurs could simply be giving their 34-year-old big man extra rest. By skipping this road trip, Aldridge will be able to stay in San Antonio for 20 straight days and won’t have to travel out of the state of Texas for nearly a month.
The Spurs used to buy Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker extra rest when they were in their mid-30s by allowing them to skip one-day road trips, so without further information regarding Aldridge’s injury, it’s probably nothing to worry about. It wouldn’t be surprising at all for him to be ready to go for Tuesday’s game versus the Houston Rockets.
Chimezie Metu Missing Another Opportunity
With Aldridge out, it should be time for Chimezie Metu to get meaningful minutes. One problem, though. Metu is also sidelined due to a sore left foot and won’t be available against the Pistons.
This continues a stretch of injury bad luck for Metu. During the offseason, he missed an opportunity to show what he could do during summer league because he needed to have an abscess on his right foot drained.
This latest injury is a shame because Metu has done really well in limited playing time spread over six appearances. In 21 minutes this season, Metu has totaled 16 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, two blocks and zero turnovers on 7-for-12 shooting from the floor.
Jakob Poeltl Back in the Starting Lineup
Jakob Poeltl will surely start at center in place of LaMarcus Aldridge against the Pistons. Poeltl has played well recently, highlighted by the nine blocked shots he has in his last two games.
Poeltl will have his hands full in Detroit, as Andre Drummond will be waiting for him. This season, Drummond is averaging 17.5 points, 17.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.7 blocks per game. Poeltl’s biggest challenge will be keeping Drummond off the boards without picking up fouls. If the Austrian gets in foul trouble, the Spurs could be in for a long night.
Drew Eubanks Likely to Get Minutes
With Aldridge and Metu out, the Spurs will likely turn to Drew Eubanks. The native of Oregon, who is currently signed to a two-way contract, should be able to provide satisfactory minutes at backup center. He was solid last year in limited minutes in San Antonio, although he has only played three NBA minutes so far this season.
In Austin, Eubanks is averaging 14.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 22.8 minutes per game. The 22-year-old also played well during summer league.
Trey Lyles Back in the Starting Lineup?
Trey Lyles lost his starting gig recently but he could be back in the starting lineup against the Pistons. With Detroit starting Drummond and Blake Griffin, the Spurs could use extra size in their starting five.
Versus the Clippers, Gregg Popovich went with Rudy Gay as the starter at power forward. But Gay is probably too small to deal with Griffin, which could lead to Lyles getting the starting spot next to Poeltl.
In addition to minutes at power forward, Pop could also decide to go with Lyles as the backup center if he doesn’t trust Eubanks.