The streaking San Antonio Spurs will be without their legendary big man when the team comes to Oracle, this Monday. Coach Gregg Popovich has ruled Duncan out due to knee soreness, which will make Monday the second game the hall of fame center has missed in the past week.
The original report didn't identify a specific injury or collision that may be to blame, so you can decide for yourself if this is more Pop being Pop. Duncan played his regular minutes Friday night against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Duncan has remained an extremely impactful player for the Spurs, despite a drop in minutes this season. Despite playing just 25 minutes per night, he averages 9 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest. But his value really shows on defense, where he leads the NBA in defensive rating (per basketball-reference.com). Real Plus-Minus loves him just as much, ranking him as the best defensive player in the NBA by a wide margin (Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut show up as third and fourth by the metric).
Despite this, the Spurs are still 7-0 without Duncan on the season — a testament to the depth of the Spurs' bench, an their many quality defenders.
The Warriors may be looking at a lose-lose scenario here: if they win, it wasn't against the real Spurs. If they lose, the national media will quickly write off the Warriors, having lost to a short-handed Spurs team at home. No pressure, guys.
Veteran power forward David West is expected to start in Duncan's place on Monday night. Check out the thread over at Pounding the Rock if you want to see the other side of it: Duncan will not play at Warriors.