- Wembanyama played through the hip issue on Thursday, getting double-double
- He is averaging 9.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, and a league leading 2.7 blocks
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Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama has been ruled out for San Antonio’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday due to right hip tightness.
It will be the first time that the highly touted rookie will miss a game this season.
The No. 1 pick from this year’s draft has averaged 19.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, and a league leading 2.7 blocks per game so far season for San Antonio.
Wembanyama played through the hip issue on Thursday, finishing with 21 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots in 29 minutes of San Antonio’s 137-135 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
‘My hip feels good,’ Wembanyama said after the game. ‘You know, as my body, in general, feels as good as we can expect this many games into this season. Yeah, holding up. Feel good.’
Victor Wembanyama has been ruled out of San Antonio’s game against New Orleans Pelicans
Wembanyama has been averaging 19.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, and a league leading 2.7 blocks
Wembanyama was one of three Spurs to start each of the season’s first 18 games. He’s played 30 minutes per game on average, second-most on the team, and had already played in both ends of two back-to-backs.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said after Thursday’s game that not playing Wembanyama in the second half of this back-to-back was a possibility because of the hip.
‘We’re trying to protect him,’ Popovich said Thursday. Popovich pioneered load management in the NBA and it should come as no surprise he is looking to find ways to give the franchise’s most prized possession some extra rest.
Giving Wembanyama the Friday game off will mean he will get nearly a week of rest, at minimum.
Because of the break provided by the knockout round that starts Monday in the In-Season Tournament, the earliest Wembanyama would play again is Wednesday at Minnesota.
Spurs head coach Greg Popovich was one of the league’s pioneers in load management
San Antonio started 3-2 but has gone 0-13 since entering Friday’s game. The 3-15 start matched the worst 18-game record in Spurs history; the other instance of the franchise opening with that record was 1996-97.
That season, Bob Hill was the coach through those 18 games before getting fired by then-general manager Popovich, who took over as coach and has remained in the job since.
The 13-game losing streak entering Friday ties the second-longest in team history. The Spurs lost 16 consecutive games last season, spanning from Jan. 20 through February. 25.
That team finished 22-60 and the franchise then won the NBA draft lottery, giving the Spurs the right to draft Wembanyama – the French 19-year-old who stands 7 feet, 3 1/2 inches tall. He doesn’t turn 20 until January 4.