Hill's ankle is big concern for Spurs

DALLAS – All Gregg Popovich wanted was to get out of the American Airlines Center with a healthy team Wednesday night.

That made guard George Hill’s ankle injury that much more painful.

Hill re-injured the right ankle that recently caused him to miss four games when he stepped on a baseline cameraman after making a layup in the first quarter. He was able to walk out of the arena without crutches, but his status for Sunday’s Game 1 in Dallas is uncertain.

“I don't know how bad it is,” Hill told the San Antonio Express-News. “I'll have to get an MRI this week. Still a lot of pain, though.”

Added Popovich: "Obviously he’s going to have to take a step backwards, and we’ll just see if he recovers quickly I guess."

If Hill can’t play – or if he’s hobbled – it’d be a huge blow to the Spurs. The second-year combo guard has blossomed into a key member of the Spurs’ core.

There is even a school of thought that the Spurs are better with Hill playing point guard instead of Tony Parker due to Hill’s superior defensive ability. The Spurs went 12-5 in games Parker missed with a broken hand, an injury he rushed back from when Hill injured his ankle. Since Hill’s return, Parker has been the Spurs’ sixth man.

At the least, Hill’s injury creates some doubt about what should be one of the Spurs’ best matchups: their second-unit point guard agianst J.J. Barea.