DeMar DeRozan Out vs. Timberwolves with Ankle Injury Diagnosed as Soreness

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2019

San Antonio Spurs' DeMar DeRozan walks upcourt during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 109-95. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)
Darren Abate/Associated Press

San Antonio Spurs star DeMar DeRozan is out against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday with left ankle soreness, according to the team:

DeRozan's talent isn't the only reason he is valuable to his team. His ability to stay on the court has been key throughout his career.

He played in 90 total games last season, missing just two regular-season contests—one due to a bruised thigh. He has played in at least 74 regular-season games in five of the past six seasons.

As good as the Toronto Raptors were over the past three years, winning 50-plus games in each campaign, they were not able to get past LeBron James, who eliminated them from the playoffs each year. Even as James moved on to the Los Angeles Lakers and the Western Conference, Toronto decided it was time for a change and swapped DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green.

The new-look Spurs (26-20) sit in sixth place in the Western Conference. In his first season in San Antonio, DeRozan is averaging 21.7 points, 6.4 assists and 6.1 rebounds. Last season he averaged 23.0, 5.2 and 3.9 per game, respectively.

DeRozan had already established himself as one of the best players in the league while with the Raptors, making four All-Star teams. And as he changed uniforms, he was hoping to take his already-impressive game to the next level.

"I never point out one thing," DeRozan revealed in September, per Orsborn. "Every year, I try to come back and be obviously better in every category. I'm going to keep that same mindset. Anything the coaching staff wants to teach me to be better, I'm all for it."

With Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay and Patty Mills, San Antonio has the talent to remain competitive even if DeRozan has to miss time. However, the team will have a tough time replacing him at the 2-spot. 

The Spurs would have a tough time challenging the likes of the Golden State Warriors and other top contenders without DeRozan, so getting him healthy as quickly as possible will be important for San Antonio.

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