SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio Spurs Hall of Famer Tim Duncan won’t be on the bench to assist coach Gregg Popovich when the team opens the NBA’s restart on Jul. 31 against the Sacramento Kings.
A team spokesman confirmed Duncan remained in San Antonio with a handful of the team’s staffers to help supervise the rehabilitation of forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who underwent season-ending right shoulder surgery on April 24.
Don Harris of WOAI-TV in San Antonio first reported the news.
I can confirm that Spurs Asst. coach Tim Duncan is NOT with the team in Orlando. Spurs tell me Tim and a few members of the medical and performance group are directing LaMarcus Aldridge’s rehabilitation program.
— Don Harris (@DonHarris4) July 13, 2020
San Antonio hit the court for its first practice since March on Saturday, and when the season resumes at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in the Walt Disney World Resort, the Spurs face formidable odds toward earning what would be an NBA-record 23rd consecutive playoff appearance. San Antonio is 12th in the Western Conference, four games behind the eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies.
“You don’t want to be the team that ended the streak. That’s for sure,” Aldridge told NBA.com nine days before undergoing surgery. “I think the pressure should be on ourselves to just make the playoffs, for this team, for this moment, for ourselves and all the work that we put in. That streak is definitely big-time, and you don’t want to be the team that ends it. But you should also want to make it for yourself; just for all the things that we’ve done, we’ve been through, and we’ve battled through. I definitely would love to keep [the streak] going, but I think we have to do it for this team that we have right now more than anything else.”
Of San Antonio’s eight seeding games, just four come against postseason participants from a year ago.
“We’re happy to have eight games, and we have an opportunity to compete and get a chance to play in the playoffs,” Spurs general manager Brian Wright said last month. “It’s going to be a huge adjustment.”
Duncan, 44, retired in 2016 after winning five championships in 19 seasons with the Spurs to go with two Kia MVP awards and three Finals MVPs. Duncan joined San Antonio’s coaching staff in July of 2019.
In April, Duncan was announced for enshrinement into the 2020 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class alongside Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett as well as Tamika Catchings, Rudy Tomjanovich, Eddie Sutton, Barbara Stevens, Kim Mulkey and Patrick Baumann.
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Michael C. Wright is a senior writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here , find his archive here and follow him on Twitter .
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