The Spurs‘ frontcourt depth has taken another hit, with head coach Gregg Popovich announcing on Wednesday that power forward Trey Lyles will be sidelined for the summer due to appendicitis (link via Paul Garcia of Project Spurs). The club confirmed in a press release that Lyles underwent an appendectomy earlier today.
San Antonio had already been missing its go-to big man, having ruled out LaMarcus Aldridge for the rest of the season after he underwent shoulder surgery. Lyles had been expected to take on a larger role with Aldridge on the shelf.
Lyles, who signed with the Spurs last summer, averaged 6.4 PPG and 5.7 RPG on .446/.387/.733 shooting in 63 games (53 starts) this season. He played 20.2 minutes per game, while Aldridge averaged 33.1 MPG, so San Antonio will have plenty of minutes to make up in its frontcourt.
As Garcia notes, the Spurs will now have to rely on the likes of Jakob Poeltl, Rudy Gay, Luka Samanic, Drew Eubanks, Chimezie Metu, and recently-signed big man Tyler Zeller up front. They’ll enter the restart four games back of the eighth-seeded Grizzlies. They’ll need to pass the Trail Blazers, Pelicans, and Kings in the standings to force a play-in tournament for the No. 8 spot.
Meanwhile, Lyles is under contract for the 2020/21 season, but only $1MM of his $5.5MM salary is guaranteed. Although he isn’t necessarily a lock to be retained, that looks like a reasonably team-friendly price for a regular rotation player.