Timetable for Neal’s return may be moving up

The timetable for Gary Neal’s return to the Spurs lineup may be moving up.

The shooting guard, who underwent an appendectomy on Dec. 12, was on the court at the Spurs practice site Tuesday, doing some ball handling and stop-and-start drills with new strength and conditioning coordinator Matt Herring.

He also did some shooting drills, his jumper looking sharp.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich last week estimated Neal would be sidelined until the second week of January, but after watching him complete the drills the head coach said Neal may be back in the lineup sooner.

“He’s moving up with his activity, doing a little more each day,” Popovich said. “He won’t play tomorrow (against the Clippers) and he won’t play in Houston (on Thursday), but after Houston he’ll be allowed to have some contact.

“It’s possible he might be back before the second week of January, but we’re just going to have to see how he feels. We’re not going to push him.”

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