Seven-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge will miss the rest of San Antonio’s season while he recovers from surgery on his right shoulder, a major blow to the Spurs’ postseason probabilities, assuming the season continues as planned.
The Spurs announced Monday that Aldridge had the surgery on April 24, stemming from an injury he suffered in a game at Utah on Feb. 21.
San Antonio is one of the 22 teams will that report to the ESPN Wide Wide Of Sports complex at the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida, starting next month, when the NBA plans to resume its season. The Spurs have been to the playoffs in 22 consecutive campaigns, matching the longest streak in NBA history.
When play resumes, the Spurs will be among four teams — the others being Portland, New Orleans and Sacramento — that are all separated by a half-game in the race for ninth place in the Western Conference and potentially a berth in a play-in series. The gap between those four teams is .010 percentage points. Aldridge played in two more games after getting hurt, including one on March 10, when he scored 24 points in the Spurs’ win over Dallas. The NBA suspended its season the following day because of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Aldridge turns 35 next month. He concludes this season averaging 18.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.
The Spurs say Aldridge “is expected to be fully cleared for all basketball activities” in time for training camp ahead of next season. Based on the NBA’s current calendar plans, training camps for 2020-21 are likely to start in November.
San Antonio now has very few options to turn to in their frontcourt, and that comes down to a number of poor decisions on their part. During the offseason, they traded future star shooter Davis Bertans to the Washington Wizards in order to create the cap space to sign Marcus Morris, who then reneged on their agreement to join the New York Knicks. Only three days before Aldridge’s injury, the Spurs bought out versatile forward DeMarre Carroll, allowing him to join the Houston Rockets. That will force the Spurs to rely on younger players like Trey Lyles, Luka Samanic and Chimezie Metu.
If nothing else, that will give San Antonio a glimpse into its future. Aldridge will turn 35 in July, and his contract expires after next season. Aldridge’s days as a superstar for the Spurs were limited as it was. After this injury, both his future and San Antonio’s are in even greater doubt.
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