And just like that, all the excitement for another San Antonio victory was gone.
Duncan sprained his left knee and right ankle in the first half, but the Spurs went on to a 96-86 win over the Washington Wizards on Saturday night for their 10th consecutive victory.
The injury appeared to be much worse when Duncan went down with 3:54 left in the second quarter.
Washington’s Martell Webster rolled into the back of Duncan’s legs while fighting for a rebound with 3:54 left in the second quarter, and there were audible gasps in the crowd while the two-time NBA MVP was down. Play continued, prompting Popovich to continually scream for a timeout.
“That was scary when you see that,” Washington coach Randy Wittman said. “Those are always the ones you don’t want to see when a guy falls into you while your feet are planted on the ground. I just talked to his doctors and they said he is going to be fine.”
Duncan returned to the lineup after missing the past four games with a sore left knee. Recently selected to his 14th All-Star game, Duncan is averaging 17.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game this season.
The crowd gave Duncan a loud ovation as he rose and was helped to the trainer’s room. The fans than began chanting “Let’s Go Spurs” in unison, which seemed to help the team overcome the shock of the injury.
San Antonio closed the first half on an 11-3 run, with Parker scoring two points and picking up two assists, and led 51-26 at the break.
Duncan had eight points and five rebounds in 13 minutes before the injuries, helping San Antonio get off to a fast start.
John Wall scored 21 points and Webster had 14 for Washington (11-35), which has lost 13 straight to San Antonio.
San Antonio used its superior ball movement and rotating defense to dominate Washington from the start.