There was a collective sigh in San Antonio as fans watched Spurs forward David Lee exit the game after making a layup in the first quarter of Sunday's Game 3 of the Western Conference finals against the Warriors.

Lee made the layup and drew the foul, but landed awkwardly and knew immediately that something was wrong. He was helped off the court to the locker room, and by rule cannot return to the game because Joel Anthony took his free throw for him.

It was sad news for the Spurs and Lee, who was seen being pushed around in a wheelchair shortly after his injury.

The sight, of course, hearkened back to one of the most melodramatic moments in NBA playoff history, when Boston's Paul Pierce left Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals against the Lakers in a wheelchair, only to return just minutes later, knock down a 3-pointer, and lead his Celtics to a win in both the game and eventually the series.

Unlike Pierce, Lee won't be returning to this game -- and the way it looked, he might not be returning to this series. The Spurs, of course, are already without NBA MVP finalist Kawhi Leonard and starting point guard Tony Parker.

What was supposed to be Golden State's stiffest competition in the Western Conference is quickly turning into an infirmary ward.