Popovich says no positive COVID cases to start practice, but pair of key Spurs players could miss time

Derrick White, Keldon Johnson could miss start of season, Popovich says

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

SAN ANTONIO – Gregg Popovich spoke to the media Tuesday ahead of the start of Spurs training camp for the 2020-21 regular season.

Popovich said there were currently no positive COVID-19 cases among Spurs players, but he expected three players to be limited to start individual workouts.

The Spurs head coach said Derrick White (toe), Keldon Johnson (foot) and Quinndary Witherspoon (knee) were dealing with “bumps and bruises” that would keep them sidelined.

Popovich said there was a good chance that all three could miss the start of the season, which tips off on Dec. 22.

White and Johnson are expected to be key contributors this season. They are also part of the Spurs youth movement that was showcased in Orlando at the NBA bubble.

Popovich was asked if the Spurs would revert to the style of play before the league was suspended in March or play similar to how they did in Orlando with a mix of young players at multiple positions.

Popovich made it clear that they’re ready for a change and the veterans have to buy in. He said LaMarcus Aldridge, who did not participate in the bubble and is more of a traditional power forward, has worked hard during the offseason and can adjust to a more wide-open style of play.

“LA will have no problem adjusting to how we play because he wants to win. We want to get back in the playoffs and he is committed to taking another huge step as far as becoming more of a 3-point shooter, which is necessary in this league for success.” Popovich said.

“The bottom line, in all frankness, is I don’t remember winning the championship last year,” Popovich said. “I don’t I don’t remember being in the playoffs. So it’s time to make a change, play a different way, demand it and move forward.”

The Spurs first preseason game is scheduled for Dec. 12 against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the AT&T Center.

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