Just when a bit of good news combined with a glimmer of hope makes its way back into the lives of Spurs fans, it’s gone again. Just four days after the announcement of the return of the 2019-20 NBA season from the Coronavirus pandemic, and in such a format that, fairly or not, would give the Spurs a decent enough chance at extending their historic 22-year playoff run, the Spurs have announced that LaMarcus Aldridge will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery. Per the Spurs official press release:
LaMarcus Aldridge underwent an arthroscopic subacromial decompression and rotator cuff debridement on his right shoulder and will miss the remainder of the 2019-20 season. The successful procedure was performed by Dr. Daniel Cooper in Dallas, Texas on April 24.
Aldridge injured his shoulder at Utah on Feb. 21. After playing at Oklahoma City on Feb. 23, he missed the next six games rehabbing before returning to score 24 points in San Antonio’s win against Dallas on March 10. The next day the NBA suspended game play on March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The seven-time All-Star is expected to be fully cleared for all basketball activities prior to Spurs training camp to start the 2020-21 season.
Aldridge himself has also released a statement:
“Disappointed I won’t get to finish with by teammates, but excited that I’ll be fully ready to go next season and beyond.”
The Spurs today announced that LaMarcus Aldridge had a surgical procedure performed on his right shoulder, which will cause him to miss the remainder of the 2019-20 NBA season.— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) June 8, 2020
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Aldridge missed six straight games after initially suffering the injury on Feb. 21, during which time the Spurs went 2-4, before he returned and looked solid in their final game before the regular season was suspended: a 119-109 drubbing of the Dallas Mavericks that had Spurs players feeling like they were about to turn that corner and make a push for the playoffs.
Aldridge has been by far the Spurs’ best player this season, especially once he added the three-pointer to his arsenal. Without him, the offense doesn’t run nearly as smoothly. Even with the added benefit of the play-in tournament for the postseason, it’s hard to see this Spurs squad making it now. Anything is possible, especially considering all teams will be dealing with an equal level of rust (plus, unlike that 2-4 stretch without him, the Spurs should have Jakob Poeltl back), but they will have to come together in a way they have failed to do all season, and now without their best player.
The NBA season is set to resume on July 31. Should the Spurs fail to make the playoffs, August 25 will be a day of interest for the first time since 1997, and that is the NBA Draft Lottery.