By Jeff McDonald
In the 18 hours or so between the Spurs leaving Memphis on Sunday night and arriving at the ATT Center on Monday afternoon, the team’s injured list increased by two.
Joining Tim Duncan (sprained left ankle) and Manu Ginobili (left quadriceps contusion) in street clothes for Monday night’s 100-92 loss to Portland were Tony Parker (left patella contusion) and Antonio McDyess (lower back contusion).
For those counting at home, that was four starters out for what became the Spurs’ fourth consecutive defeat.
None of the injuries are considered serious, though the timetable to return could vary by player. All four could conceivably play against Boston on Thursday, with McDyess and Parker considered most likely to suit up.
Of the four players, only one — McDyess — quarreled with coach Gregg Popovich’s decision to sit him Monday.
“If it was a playoff game, Antonio would probably go, and he wants to,” Popovich said before tipoff. “I’m forcing him to sit because it’s a back-to-back, and he’s too important for us to be short-sighted.”
Ginobili, McDyess and Parker were all injured in a rugged loss 24 hours earlier in Memphis. Duncan, meanwhile, missed his fourth game with the ankle sprain suffered one week earlier against Golden State.
All four players, dressed in the NBA-required sport coats, watched the game from the bench. Duncan did not wear a walking boot — just dress shoes — and spent time beforehand with strength and conditioning coach Mike Brungardt, working on exercises to stretch the ankle.
Ginobili also seemed to be moving better than he was a night earlier.
Though the team is off Tuesday, all four injured players are due at the Spurs practice facility for treatment.
GREEN NO MORE: When second-year swingman Danny Green heard how many starters the Spurs would be without against Portland, his eyes got as big as saucers.
“Man, I was excited,” Green said. “Pop came in, told us what kind of game plan we had, and I was even more excited.”
With the Spurs obviously outmanned, the plan called for lots of running and quick shots.
Green, who before Monday had made just two appearances since re-signing with the Spurs on March 6, logged a career high 20 minutes, 15 seconds off the bench, scoring seven points and taking a couple of defensive turns on Portland’s Brandon Roy.
Late in the third quarter, he had the ATT Center crowd on its feet after his 3-pointer and breakaway dunk gave the Spurs a 70-67 lead.
“I’m not going to lie, it was fun,” Green said. “We just got a little too happy, and we ran out of gas.”
BUTLER TO AUSTIN: As expected, the Spurs assigned newly signed rookie forward Da’Sean Butler to their Development League affiliate in Austin.
Butler, who is in the final stages of recovery from a torn ACL suffered while playing for West Virginia in last year’s Final Four, could be available for the final three games of the Toros’ season.