Spurs notebook: Healthy Anderson anxious to show his stuff

After missing most of his rookie season training camp, second-year Spurs guard James Anderson found waiting nearly two-and-a-half months for the opening of this season’s camp a mere inconvenience.

Now, with Gary Neal on the shelf after undergoing an appendectomy on Monday, Anderson figures more heavily in the Spurs’ early-season plans.

Anderson got off to a good start last season, making 10 of 20 on 3-pointers in the first six games of the season but appeared in only 26 games after a stress fracture in his right foot was discovered Nov. 11. He returned to the lineup Jan. 29 but played a limited role thereafter.

“We want to watch him play,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “We haven’t really seen him. He was hurt so much last year and missed camp and had such a spotty experience during the year. He’ll obviously get a chance to get out on the floor with Gary out. We’ll see what we see.”

Anderson played in a makeshift pro league in Las Vegas during the NBA lockout and reported to camp intent on proving himself.

“Anytime you get injured, it’s heartbreaking,” he said. “At the same time, you’ve got to take care of your body. That’s what this league is all about, taking care of your body.”

SHECKY POPOVICH: The Spurs coach went all stand-up comic on Neal on Tuesday, making light of Neal’s enforced idleness.

“They took out his appendix,” Popovich said. “He didn’t come to practice.

“Remember when we got our appendixes taken out? Next day, we were out shoveling snow. He gets his appendix out, he’s lying in bed: ‘It hurts, Coach. I can’t do anything.’

“I sent him a little card. It had a doe on it, a little deer. It smelled of flowers and everything. I wanted him to know we were thinking about him. If I was worth anything, I would have thought of sending ice cream with it, just to make him happier.”

The team’s medical staff won’t allow Neal to get back on the court until Monday.

“He’s probably going to miss three or four games, I’m thinking, something like that,” Popovich said. “Then he’ll be ready to go. He’s not going to forget how to shoot, but he was working really hard at the defensive end of the court, trying to improve the all-around part of his game, so that’s a tough break for him.”

MCDYESS DEADLINE: Center-forward Antonio McDyess remains a camp absentee while the club determines his contract status. Though the 16-year veteran announced his intent to retire after last season, he remains on the team’s roster, with half his $5.2 million contract guaranteed, even if he goes through with retirement.

The club has until Monday to decide if it is going to guarantee the other half of McDyess’ deal. It is possible his expiring contract could be used as part of a trade.

“We’re taking our time deciding how we want to approach the whole roster,” said Popovich, also the team’s executive vice president of basketball operations. “Every team is still looking around, making calls. We’re still looking around. It’s early. Things are starting to settle out, obviously, but things can happen to round out a roster.”

BUTLER WAIVED: The Spurs waived forward Da’Sean Butler. The club had signed him late last season after he was waived by the Heat. He did not play for the Spurs.

Leave a Reply