Spurs notebook: Dad-to-be McDyess glad to be retired

By Mike Monroe

HOUSTON — Admitting it felt strange to be sitting in the stands 10 rows behind the Spurs bench, and even weirder seeing Tim Duncan sitting out the second half of the third game of the season because the Spurs were being blown out by the Rockets, Antonio McDyess put to rest any thoughts that he might elect to come out of retirement at any time this season.

“Uh-uh,” he said, flashing his characteristic smile. “A lot of people have been asking, but it’s not happening.”

McDyess and his wife are expecting their first child in a few days and he said he is comfortable with his decision to leave the NBA after 16 seasons, the last two with the Spurs.

The former All-Star and Olympic gold medal winner paid a short visit to the Spurs locker room after the Rockets’ 105-85 drubbing, to the delight of coach Gregg Popovich.

“The best part of this whole night was seeing Antonio,” Popovich said.

ANXIOUSLY WAITING: Second-year shooting guard Gary Neal is looking forward to the Spurs’ next practice session, whenever that may be.

Cleared to begin contact work after undergoing an appendectomy on Dec. 12, Neal has been working hard on conditioning this week but understands he needs a practice or two before he can expect to get in a game for the first time this season.

“He’s working out with Sean Marks back in San Antonio,” Popovich said. “We won’t practice tomorrow, but he’ll do something.

“He’s got to have contact before we get him into a game. It might be a month-and-a-half before we have a chance to practice again, but we can get some of the rookies in there with him so he can get some contact. I expect he’ll be back in another week, or so.”

RATINGS MONSTERS: After drawing more viewers for their regular season opener against the Grizzlies than ESPN’s Monday Night Football game that featured Saints quarterback Drew Brees’ quest for a single-season passing record, the Spurs continued their domination of local prime-time TV for their Wednesday night game against the Clippers.

That game posted an 11.1 overnight Nielsen rating, more than doubling the ratings for the University of Texas-Cal Holiday Bowl game, which came in at 5.1.

DOMINANT THIRDS END: The Spurs went into Thursday’s game against the Rockets having outscored their first two opponents 67-31 in the third quarter.

The trend ended against the Rockets, who outscored the Spurs 25-24 in the third.

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