Aldridge left the Spurs’ 116-106 loss to the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night with a bruised left knee, the latest blow in a season that has included Kawhi Leonard being limited to nine games with a nagging quadriceps injury. Aldridge is the biggest reason San Antonio’s season hasn’t been derailed by Leonard’s absence — and a tough schedule ahead makes the matchup-nightmare center’s status worth watching.
“He’s been playing with that bad knee for a while now, so hopefully it’s not too bad,” guard Tony Parker said. “We’re going to need him vs. OKC.”
The Spurs host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday and the Houston Rockets on Sunday before visiting the LA Clippers on Tuesday. They’re sixth in the Western Conference, with the Utah Jazz, Minnesota Timberwolves, Clippers and Denver Nuggets behind them in the standings.
It’s impossible to overstate Aldridge’s value at this point in the season.
“We are at a point if LaMarcus gets a cough, a cold, we are in deep trouble,” Manu Ginobili said. “So hopefully it’s just a one-half thing because if not it’s really going to get tough to score down the stretch. We’ve got tough opponents. We’re playing against teams that need wins. Hopefully it’s nothing.”
Coach Gregg Popovich said Aldridge would get the injury checked out Wednesday morning. Aldridge had a game-high 13 points when he limped off late in the second quarter and is averaging 23.2 points and 8.4 rebounds this season as the Spurs’ most productive player.
“I think everybody (has to step up),” guard Danny Green said. “We’ve got to stay focused. Nobody is going to feel bad for us.”