Spurs guard Vassell day-to-day with groin injury


SAN ANTONIO — Devin Vassell will be considered day-to-day with a left adductor strain, a positive development after San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich first said the fourth-year guard could be out “a little while.”

Vassell left Thursday’s win against the Phoenix Suns with left groin tightness and received an MRI once the team returned from Phoenix.

The team is likely to hold him out of Sunday afternoon’s game against the Toronto Raptors and reassess his status ahead of next week’s two-game road trip against the Indiana Pacers and the New York Knicks.

Following the game, Popovich said he thought the team was going to be without Vassell because of the nature of the injury. “The groin is one of those things where it can take a while,” Popovich said. “He wasn’t sure. He thought he could play, but I told him to go out and warm it up [at halftime] and to be honest with me if it loosened up and how it felt and he said he just couldn’t go on it.” Against the Suns, Vassell was replaced in the second-half starting lineup by Malaki Branham. At practice on Saturday, Branham said Vassell’s diagnosis was a plus and he was glad it wasn’t anything serious.

“Just next man up, next man up mentality,” Branham said Saturday. “I’ve been in this position a couple of times last year, so this is not new to me. Just be ready to play.”

Branham started 32 games as a rookie last season for the Spurs. In five games off the bench this year, he’s averaging 6.2 points.

Spurs veteran forward Doug McDermott said Branham was “great” in the second half against Phoenix on Thursday.

“Malaki a very talented player and he’s going to get a role in here,” McDermott said. “We all have a lot of faith in Malachi. He’s going to be able to handle the ball in certain situations and take over some of that scoring that Devin provided.”

Vassell is averaging 19.4 points and shooting 40.7% from deep this year.

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