Weekly lineup

 Tuesday, February 22
Tuesday tests on Duncan encouraging
Associated Press

 SAN ANTONIO -- Tim Duncan strained a lower abdominal muscle and could miss a game for the first time in his NBA career.

Tim Duncan

The star forward of the San Antonio Spurs underwent tests Tuesday to determine whether the muscle also was torn, but doctors detected no tear, team officials said.

Duncan left Monday night's game against Phoenix early in the second quarter of the Spurs' 98-89 loss. There did not appear to be any unusual contact that might have caused an injury.

"He just came over and said that I needed to sub for him," Popovich said. "Then I knew right away that something was wrong. I didn't need to question him what was wrong. I just got him out of there."

While the Spurs' reserves practiced Tuesday and the rest of the team took the day off, Duncan took a magnetic resonance imaging test. He also began his rehabilitation, which includes special workouts in a pool.

The Spurs face a three-game road trip, and Duncan was listed as day to day. He will travel with the team and there is a chance he could play in Thursday's game in Charlotte. Duncan has played in 185 consecutive games, never missing one in his three years in the league.

Shaquille O'Neal of the Los Angeles Lakers had an abdominal strain during the 1997-98 season and missed 21 games.

If Duncan is sidelined, San Antonio is expected to give additional playing time to Malik Rose, with David Robinson picking up his offensive game.

Robinson had 31 points and 18 rebounds, and Rose scored 17 points.

"If we play the way we did last night then we'll be in good shape," Popovich said. "It'd be great to shoot a little bit better. But the effort and the defense and the execution, I'm really proud of."

Guard Antonio Daniels, Duncan's closest friend on the team, sprained his left wrist during Monday night's game and is listed as day to day. He is expected to make the upcoming road trip.


Duncan's injury pains Spurs in home loss to Suns