As a rookie last season, backup center Tiago Splitter spent much of the Spurs' first-round ouster against Memphis on the sidelines, a spectator to his own playoff initiation.

For a painful and fearful 24 hours last week, Splitter worried his second trip through the postseason might be headed there, too.

"I thought it was going to be the end of the season for me," Splitter said.

Splitter thought he had broken his left wrist while bracing himself during an awkward fall in Game 1 of the Spurs' series with Utah.

An MRI the next day revealed only a bone bruise. Splitter was back on the floor for Game 3 six days later, an integral part of the Spurs' playoff present as well as their future.