The San Antonio Spurs have been hit with a double injury blow with a little over a week to go until the beginning of the new NBA season.
Following the disappointment of losing Kawhi Leonard in a trade, things were looking up for the organization – they got DeMar DeRozan in return after all – but they have since been forced to deal with the loss of rookie guard Lonnie Walker IV.
The Spurs first-round pick went off injured during a preseason match against the Detroit Pistons on Friday. And a subsequent MRI has revealed a meniscus tear in his right knee, per ESPN’s Michael C. Wright.
It was later announced that the player would undergo surgery in San Antonio, with team physician Dr. David Schmidt to oversee the procedure. The team have not yet announced a timeline for Walker’s return, but sources have told ESPN that he could be out for six to eight weeks.
As if that wasn’t worrying enough, San Antonio has seen another player get hit by injury. Starting point guard Dejounte Murray has also suffered a knee injury, having participated in his side’s clash with the Houston Rockets on Sunday.
Murray was able to walk himself of the court, but there were worries he could have suffered serious damage, given that the injury occurred while he planted his foot to attack the rim. Those fears have since been realized, with an MRI revealing a torn ACL and there is no timeline for a return.
"Devastating injury for him and the team, but life goes on," head coach Gregg Popovich said. "Everybody will pick up and we will do the best job we can to carry on without him."
Meanwhile, Pop has also sent a short, but encouraging, message to Walker. “Things happen. Do that rehab,” he said.
While the rookie probably wasn’t expecting to see much game time this season, given his position in the pecking order, it must feel particularly discouraging to suffer such an injury ahead of his first season.
Walker averaged 11.5 points and 1.0 steal per game while shooting 42 percent from the field as a freshman for Miami and will hope to be handed the opportunity to prove himself in a Spurs jersey when he returns from injury.