Spurs Notes: Wembanyama, Timeline, Jones, Wesley

The Spurs have continued to exercise caution with Victor Wembanyama as they progress through the season, keeping him on a minutes restriction since he tweaked his ankle in December. The No. 1 overall pick has averaged 25.0 minutes per night since Dec. 17 and was held out of one end of a pair of back-to-backs.

However, according to Tom Orsborn of San Antonio Express-News, the Spurs have slightly loosened the reins on Wembanyama, increasing his limit to 30 minutes per game, and all signs point to that restriction being lifted altogether soon.

I think we’re getting close and it’s a good thing for me,” Wembanyama said.

Coach Gregg Popovich also said Wembanyama could “possibly” play both games of a Spurs back-to-back that starts Friday against the Trail Blazers. According to Orsborn, the Spurs and Wembanyama have several “practices and safeguards” in place to help keep him healthy over the course of the season.

The recovery is always the most important [thing], and even though sometimes it’s hard to sleep with time zones and travel, we’ve got to do the best we can, and my body’s reacting pretty well so far,” Wembanyama said.

We have more on the Spurs:

  • The 2023/24 Rookie of the Year races continues to heat up between Wembanyama and Oklahoma City’s Chet Holmgren and the two young centers duked it out again on Wednesday. Jeff McDonald of San Antonio Express-News applauds Wembanyama’s performance in that game while breaking down the matchup. Wembanyama finished with 24 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks and four assists in a 140-114 loss to Holmgren’s Thunder. Holmgren finished with 17 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals. “I just feel like Victor’s the Rookie of the Year in my opinion,” Spurs forward Keldon Johnson said. “Other guys can feel different ways. That’s just how I feel.
  • The Spurs’ loss on Wednesday was their second blowout defeat at the hands of Oklahoma City this year, and Popovich gave the Thunder their flowers after the game, Orsborn writes. “It has been a good number of years to get where they are right now and that’s the cycle of things,” Popovich said. “We were in that position [of playing playoff basketball] for three decades and now we’re starting over. And so we’ll have to have the same patience and make good decisions in the draft and that kind of thing.
  • Guard Tre Jones started the year as a reserve but was moved to the starting lineup on Jan. 4. Since becoming a starter, he’s averaging 13.7 points and 7.1 assists per game, leading Popovich to emphasize his importance. “He is very, very important to us, more than most people would expect,” Popovich said, via Orsborn. “He is the heart and soul out there as far as keeping us together and showing the grit night after night.
  • Jones suffered an ankle injury on Monday against Philadelphia and sat out Wednesday’s game against the Thunder, Orsborn writes. Popovich said the injury wasn’t serious and Orsborn tweets Jones was upgraded to questionable on Thursday’s injury report.
  • Blake Wesley earned his second career start on Wednesday in the wake of Jones’ injury. He scored 12 points on perfect shooting from the floor, to go along with six assists and four rebounds. “I believe he did a good job,” Popovich said, via Orsborn. “He’s a young man trying to find his way in the league and hasn’t gotten a lot of minutes. I thought he tried to do everything we wanted him to do tonight.
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