What you heard rippling across San Antonio about 4 p.m. Sunday was the sound of an entire city exhaling at once.
A day after Spurs All-Star forward Tim Duncan had to be helped off the floor in the first half of a victory over Washington with one teammate under each arm, an MRI exam revealed no structural damage to his injured left knee.
Duncan will be listed as day-to-day, and he is likely to join the team on the nine-game rodeo trip that opens Wednesday in Minnesota.
The 36-year-old put a fright into a sellout crowd at the AT&T Center on Saturday, when he crumpled to the floor after Wizards forward Martell Webster rolled into the back of his legs late in the second quarter.
That Duncan emerged from the pileup with nothing more severe than a sore left knee and a mild right ankle sprain counts as good news for the Spurs, who believe they can survive their captain's absence in the short term.
"As a team we just have to pick up the slack," reserve forward Matt Bonner said. "Obviously it makes a big difference when he's not playing, because he's such a great player. So we just have to buckle down that much more. Everybody else has to play a little better."
Having dodged what could have been a season-destroying bullet, expect coach Gregg Popovich to err on the side of paranoid caution when it comes to allowing the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player back on the court.
The Spurs' second-leading scorer, leading rebounder and top shot-blocker, Duncan is in the throes of a resurgent season that hearkens to some of the best years of his prime.
Later this month in Houston, he is scheduled to return to the All-Star Game for the 14th time after missing the festivities last year in Orlando for the first time in his career. It is not immediately clear if Duncan's injury situation will affect those plans.
Tim Duncan's injuries not major, Spurs dodge serious trouble
San Antonio Express-News | Feb 4