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Victor Wembanyama will miss tonight’s game against the Pelicans with hip tightness

Doug McDermott is also still out, and Keldon Johnson is listed as ‘probable’.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at San Antonio Spurs Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

It maybe took a lot longer than many expected (19 games, to be specific), but Victor Wembanyama will miss the first game of his NBA career tonight at the home of former top overall pick Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans. It’s the second night of a back-to-back following last night’s high-paced loss at home to the Atlanta Hawks.

Wemby was questionable going into that game with hip tightness and could be seen surrounded by medical staff, monitoring his movements at morning shootaround. While he ended up playing and having another good game with 21 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks, Gregg Popovich was quick to say afterwards that they’re trying to protect him, and he wasn’t sure if Wemby would play tonight. The decision to sit him is likely more cautionary than anything, and the Spurs will have another four days of rest before resuming play on Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Joining him as “out” on the injury report is Doug McDermott, who was a late scratch last night due to illness, and G-League assignments in Sidy Cissoko, Sir’Jabari Rice and Charles Bediako. Keldon Johnson is also listed as “probable” with hip tightness. Notably absent from the injury report is two-way forward Dominick Barlow, who has split his time between Austin and San Antonio but was with the team last night. He and/or someone like Sandro Mamukelashvili could see some rotation minutes with Wemby out.

It will also be interesting to see what changes Pop does with the starting lineup. Julian Champangie has started at times this season. He could also bring Tre Jones in as a starter and move Jeremy Sochan back to his natural position of power forward, or maybe now is the time to move Devin Vassell back to a starting role. Another possibility is just bring back last season’s starting lineup, assuming Johnson is available, with Jones and Vassell starting alongside him, Sochan and Zach Collins.

Whatever rotation adjustments are made, it will be interesting to see how the team responds to the first game this season without their superstar. For the most part, it’s the same team as last season, with the main new addition being Cedi Osman, so it shouldn’t be too much of an adjustment for the young squad.