The San Antonio Spurs knew they were going to be in for an interesting season after their blockbuster trade in the summer. But even without Kawhi Leonard in town anymore, there was still some reason for optimism. They made it to the playoffs essentially without him last season, now have DeMar DeRozan thanks to the trade and were excited about some of the young talent in their backcourt.
However, that optimism has been quickly drained away, as they suffered a double injury blow in the span of just a few days during the preseason. First, rookie guard Lonnie Walker IV -- the team's first-round pick this year -- went down injured during Friday's game against the Pistons. The team later announced that an MRI revealed he has a torn meniscus, and according to a report from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, he's expected to miss six to eight weeks.
Then on Sunday, in the second quarter of their game against the Rockets, starting point guard Dejounte Murray also suffered a knee injury. He was able to walk off the court under his own power, but the injury happened as he planted to go to the rim, which is usually not a great sign. Unfortunately, the MRI he received on Monday confirmed that, as the Spurs announced he suffered a torn ACL. They did not announce a timeline for his recovery, but it is likely he'll miss the entire season.
As a rookie, and probably the fifth guard on the depth chart heading into the season, Walker wasn't going to see tons of playing time early, Still, having knee surgery in preseason is a tough way to start your career. It just makes everything a bit harder when you have to play catch-up once you're healthy.
A season-ending injury to Murray, however, is a really big blow for both him and the Spurs -- especially in conjunction with Walker's surgery. You never want to see someone get injured, but it really couldn't come at a worse time for Murray. After showing flashes of real potential in his first few seasons, everyone in San Antonio was talking about this being a breakout year for the lefty point guard. It's a shame that his emergence has now been derailed by an injury.
With both Walker and Murray out, the Spurs will be quite thin in the backcourt. Patty Mills should take over the starting point guard role, but besides him and DeRozan, their backcourt options are Bryn Forbes, second-year guard Derrick White, who played just 17 games last season, and Marco Belinelli, if you want to count him as a guard and not a wing. That is, too put it lightly, not great.