James Anderson getting close to return to Spurs

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Being injured sucks. Not only do you not get to play, but you spend a lot of time away from your teammates, guys who you (hopefully) like to hang around. You have to sit behind the bench during games, there’s less time in the locker room with the guys and oftentimes you stay behind on road trips to rehab.

Instead, there’s a whole lot of time working with trainers and strength and conditioning coaches. I would imagine that when you’re working with them, they’re not much fun to be around.

And when your team jumps out to a league-best 37-7 record and gets as much glory as a small market team can get, well, it can be a bit frustrating. That’s exactly the road James Anderson has been traveling down that past couple of months.

Just seven games into the season, Anderson suddenly ended up with a broken foot. The two month timetable for Anderson’s return came and went, but the Spurs wanted to be careful and not rush him back too soon. His workload increased slowly over the last few weeks and now, he will soon be joining the Austin Toros for a short spell in the D-League to get his rhythm back.

You wouldn’t blame Anderson if he’s a bit frustrated at this point in the season. Anderson missed most of the summer with a hamstring injury and now he’s missing most of what is on pace to be the Spurs’ best regular season in franchise history.

You may have noticed that James Anderson was in uniform for the Spurs’ 101-92 win over the New York Knicks on Friday night. That was by design, as Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich and his staff monitor players’ morale.

“He’s going to suit up, but he won’t play,” Coach Pop said before the game. “We’re just doing it for fun so he can put on a uniform and be with the guys, that kind of thing.”

Coach Pop said he would only put Anderson in if the Spurs were up by 20 or down by 20, and even then, “I’ll put him in and tell him to just run up and down and get a sweat. Don’t rebound, don’t guard, don’t do anything.” But alas, it was a close game and Anderson never made an appearance.

Anderson is not on San Antonio’s current road trip, staying behind in San Antonio before heading to the D-League for a rehab stint. But it’s a good sign that the Spurs coaches and front office members are keeping tabs on how the players’ mental conditioning is. Anderson’s situation isn’t near as dire as players like Greg Oden or Yao Ming, but it’s still tough.

Coming to a veteran team like the Spurs, there had to be some inkling in Anderson’s mind that he would spend a lot of time on the bench. But he came out and averaged more than 17 minutes per game to start the season and is instead riding the bench because of injury. But he’s close to a February return to the Spurs, and if he can adjust as quickly to the NBA as when the season started, the Spurs won’t have to give up anything at the trade deadline to add a new piece to the rotation.

  • Hobson13

    I initially believed that since we were so late in the season, Anderson would not be incorportated to a high degree. However, it is apparent to me that the Spurs are suffering from lack of depth at this point in the season with Hill and Bonner both missing time. This has forced other players (the Big 3) to make up some of those minutes and has thus decreased their efficiency.

    I’m looking forward to getting Anderson back so he can come in and relieve either Manu or RJ. We need both Manu and Jefferson rested and healthy come playoff time. JA really showed some promise before the injury. Perhaps in the future he can be a special player for the Spurs.

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  • justin-ray

    Can’t wait!

  • http://www.bpifanconnect.com Alix Babaie

    Thanks, Bart Scott….for giving Justin-Ray something to type. :)

  • justin-ray

    Lol

  • justin-ray

    :)

  • justin-ray

    Man tonight I wanna see more splitter! Anybody know the status on bonner?

  • DBAGuy

    Is there any way we can get a petition started to stop the NBA from playing teams on back to back nights. No one liked this and it isn’t a true test, specially when teams have to travel across the country late at night!!

  • rj

    splitter-watch continues tonight against Golden State. Anderson needs to give relief to our swing positions, especially manu. manu claims not to be gassed in any way, but it seems like we depended heavily on him early in the season with all the late game heroics and it

  • rj

    - has taken its toll. anderson should provide some relief. even though he has missed a ton of time and he’s a rookie, his presencne is a necesity for the sake of saving our legs. same goes for splitter. i don’t like this 3 big rotation in tight games when we are missing bonner. splitter might not help us earn a lead, but he is not a serious defensive liability. he isn’t like mahinmi where we risk foul trouble every against every offensive possesion. we have to use our depth to it’s fullest this season.

    p.s. sorry for the double comment. accidentally pushed enter

  • Czernobog

    @DBAGuy: That’s actually one of the reasons why I think a contraction is a good idea.

  • idahospur

    I do not like back-to-backs but because eliminating them would extend the season, maybe the league can only put them only at home games so teams can have some rest.

  • Ted

    This has nothing to do with James Anderson’s return, which we are all excited about, but what does the 48 MOH gang think about the Nene Hilario rumors? The rumors aren’t naming the Spurs as a possible suitor. Should and could we be?

  • DNITCH

    I havent heard any Nene rumors connected to the Spurs, only Dallas as one of his top three desired places to end up. I think we have a better shot at hoping Troy Murphy’s contract gets bought out and him landing in San Antonio than trading for Nene.

  • rob

    The only news (rumor) I’ve read regarding Nene is that he’s reportedly tired of the Carmelo distractions and if he were to be traded would like to go to a contender. First thing I read was Miami for obvious reasons. Now supposedly Dallas for obvious reasons. Well if it were for “obvious” reasons and he would like to go to a contender…why not San Antonio in the rumor mix?

    I wouldn’t get your hopes up but…hell yeah that would be sweet for the Spurs.

  • Hobson13

    DNITCH
    January 24th, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    “I think we have a better shot at hoping Troy Murphy’s contract gets bought out and him landing in San Antonio than trading for Nene.”

    I know that it’s probably wild speculation, but signing Troy Murphy to the Spurs after his possible buyout would be beyond huge for this team. Murphy could provide the size, shooting, and rebounding we needed to take on the Lakers front line. His excellent floor-spacing ability means he could be perfectly paired with either Duncan, Splitter, or Blair. And while he’s not a great defender, he can easily average 10+ rebounds/game if given the minutes. His size would also allow him to more effectively guard the likes of Dirk and Gasol.

    I really don’t see the Spurs making a trade that would require us to give away a player who is currently a key part of the team rotation. This is why I believe a Nene trade to be super unlikely. However, it wouldn’t hurt team chemistry if we traded a draft pick for a player OR we picked up a veteran that had been bought out/waived. In either case, we should be greedy with regards to getting the best talent. As our last game indicated, we aren’t that much better than many of our opponents and the Spurs shouldn’t allow any opportunity to improve the team fall to the wayside. I’m sure the front office would agree with this philosophy.

    Now let’s beat on that Warriors fanny.

  • TD = BEST EVER

    @ Hobson13

    “In either case, we should be greedy with regards to getting the best talent. As our last game indicated, we aren’t that much better than many of our opponents and the Spurs shouldn’t allow any opportunity to improve the team fall to the wayside. I’m sure the front office would agree with this philosophy.”

    I agree – I think we have to keep looking to add more talent to our team. Even though we have the best record there are at least 5 other teams that have more TALENT….. and come play off time that extra talent could haunt us…… especially if one of our big guns have an off night……

  • Daniel T

    A problem for Nene in wanting to be traded to a contender is, which contender has salary cap room to take on his contract? I’m pretty sure the answer is none, so if a contender wants him they’d have to be willing to move some significant players in return. That’s why the Spurs seem unlikely to go for him.

    Dallas might see if they could make a trade to move out Caron Butler, who is injured and unlikely to play again this year anyways. They could simply swap centers and send off Tyson Chandler, but I think they’re happy with Chandler.

    Short of trading one of the three superfriends, Miami has no more cap room and few assets that could be traded.

  • hemisfair89

    @DBAGuy: I also wish the NBA would do away with back-to-back games. What’s the point of teams having to play one night after a game, made worse if there’s travel involved. The fans and the whole world knows that a team will play at about 75% of their capabilities! I hate those games! If not, then maybe shorten the season by 10 or so games? I don’t think even the NFL’s “short” weeks (MNF game, Sun) come close to how ridiculous these games are. I love the NBA, but I’ve been hatin’ on this quirk in the schedule.

  • spursfanbayarea

    What about trying to get Rasheed Wallace out of retirement ala PJ Brown. Bring him in late in the season to get in shape. Play him sparingly and have a solid big who can space the floor in the playoffs?

  • Ruel

    @Hobson13

    +10
    I agree, Troy Murphy’s personality, character, and work ethic definately fits on our team. He’s underrated veteran player but for sure he will bring more mental toughness on our team and has a decent outside shooting as well. Bringing him here without messing up our current roster? It’s hard to by pass it or unless our FO and Coaching Staffs will find a better fit on our team without shaking/breaking up Team Chemistry? I don’t agree with the trade. Too highly risky and too much to give than we can get or receive. It’s already half way of the season. We should stick with our team and trust them rather than doubting and questioning their abilities?

    You made a good point and hopefully they can bring Troy on our team!!!

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