Spurs wing Devin Vassell, who has battled a left adductor injury in the season’s first month after signing a lucrative long-term contract extension in the offseason, told reporters that he’ll return for Wednesday’s game vs. the Clippers (Twitter video link via Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News).
The groin injury has sidelined Vassell for five of the Spurs’ first 14 games, including the past three. He has been effective when he has played, averaging 17.3 points in just 28.9 minutes per night through nine appearances, with career highs in field goal percentage (49.6%) and three-point percentage (43.1%).
Here are a few more notes from around the Southwest:
- Although the Spurs have a talented young core headed by No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama, they’re the NBA’s youngest team and are still in search of leadership, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News (subscription required). “When a team is that young, each is hesitant to play that role,” head coach Gregg Popovich said. “Usually your leaders are your best players, and they’re usually All-Stars. We don’t have that right now.”
- Rockets head coach Ime Udoka spoke to Kelly Iko of The Athletic about the defensive system he brought to Houston, Popovich’s influence on his coaching style, and whether the expectations with his new team are different than they were in Boston. “For me, the expectation is the same, the standards are the same,” Udoka explained. “You want to play at a certain level, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a championship-level team or a young team. You want to build those habits and fundamentals from day one.”
- Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal takes a look at Jacob Gilyard‘s journey from undrafted free agent to G League standout to two-way player to Grizzlies‘ starting point guard. While injuries and Ja Morant‘s suspension have forced Gilyard into the rotation, his teammates have been impressed with how he has handled the opportunity. “I knew he was a hooper from the minute I watched him,” Jaren Jackson Jr. said. “I felt comfortable playing with him, like I have been playing with him for years.”