Duncan leaves with 22 points

Updated: February 27, 2004, 12:30 AM ET
Associated Press

DALLAS -- San Antonio's Tim Duncan could be sidelined for a while after leaving Thursday night's game against Dallas with what the team is calling a bruised left thigh.

Duncan appeared to be rubbing near the top of his knee, and the two-time league MVP told teammates he hurt the knee. The team, however, announced it was a thigh problem.

 Tim Duncan

"He's got some sort of thigh contusion," coach Gregg Popovich said. "He's probably going to miss a little bit of time."

Asked how long Duncan might be out, Popovich said: "I have no clue. I have no idea. You guys are thinking I'm a doctor, a psychic and all that stuff."

Duncan will be examined further Friday in San Antonio. The team plays its next four games at home, starting Saturday night against Denver.

Duncan had 22 points and 17 rebounds in 25 minutes when he went to the bench with 7:15 left in the third quarter of a 115-91 loss to the Mavericks.

The Spurs were trailing 66-57 when Duncan went out. He spent the rest of the game on the bench and was able to stand during timeouts, moving awkwardly.

After the game, he spent about 20 minutes in the trainer's room, then limped out of the locker room and was taken to the team bus on a golf cart. His only comment was, "I don't know what happened."

Duncan and Dallas center Scott Williams collided in the first half. But it was while running in the second half that Duncan came up lame.

"He said, 'My knee,"' Spurs guard Hedo Turkoglu said. "I hope it's not serious and he can come back. But we don't know how he feels. We'll see tomorrow."

The reigning champion Spurs are now 38-20, four games behind Minnesota in the Midwest Division and just a half-game ahead of the Mavericks. Duncan is a big reason for their success as he came into this game fifth in the league in points per game, third in rebounds and blocks.

A long absence by Duncan could seriously hurt San Antonio's playoff seeding. The Spurs are 1-3 in games he's missed this season and 0-2 in games when he's left with an injury.

"Our team misses our superstar," Popovich said. "He's more important to us than a lot of other teams' stars."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press