Jeremy Sochan’s injury absence draws blunt Gregg Popovich, Victor Wembanyama takes

Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich didn’t rule out the possibility that Jeremy Sochan may be out for the rest of the season.

Jeremy Sochan, San Antonio Spurs logo

Jeremy Sochan had just enjoyed a pair of quality games, including perhaps his best-ever NBA night, when he left Friday’s San Antonio Spurs win in the second quarter with an injury that the team called left ankle soreness. Before Sunday’s contest vs. the Golden State Warriors — a game Sochan ended up missing — coach Gregg Popovich didn’t rule out the chance that the 2022 ninth-overall pick might miss the rest of the season.

“I have no idea,” the longest-tenured coach in the NBA answered when asked if Sochan could miss the Spurs remaining seven contests.

The Spurs react to Jeremy Sochan injury uncertainty

San Antonio Spurs forward Jeremy Sochan (10) and center Victor Wembanyama (1) walk off the court after a time out was called during the fourth quarter at Golden 1 Center.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The 117-113 loss to the Warriors on Sunday marked the first game Jeremy Sochan did not play this season.

“He’s been there for, what, 74 games in a row. Even if he would be out for the rest of the season, that’s ninety percent availability. That’s huge,” Spurs superstar Victor Wembanyama said.

Popovich added that he wasn’t yet in a position to speak definitely about the former Baylor Bear’s status.

“Whatever the doctors tell me when they all look at the pictures, that’s when I’ll know something but I’m not going to guess.”

The second-year forward is averaging 11.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 29.6 minutes per game in numbers that are up across the board from last year. Selected as a Rising Star as a rookie, he averaged 11 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 26 minutes through 56 games.

This year, he made the Rising Stars game as an injury replacement. Last Monday, he scored 26 and grabbed a career-high 18 points while bothering Kevin Durant just enough defensively in a Spurs upset victory. Wembanyama, a fellow 2024 NBA Rising Star, pointed out Sochan’s value following Sunday’s setback, which ended the Silver and Black’s first three-game winning streak of the season.

“He has played so many precious minutes for us, doing all the dirty (work) and the hard job,” Wemby continued. “He has just been such a great asset for us on both sides of the court. It showed in the last game against New York as well. I think Jeremy would have worn in the second half on Brunson’s performance. He’s precious to us. I hope he’s going to be as healthy as possible.”

Potential indirect effect of Sochan’s injury

Spurs forward Cedi Osman started the second half of Friday’s 130-126 overtime victory vs. New York as well as Sunday’s loss to Golden State. The 28-year-old forward will be an unrestricted free agent after this season.

“Yes, I guess,” the seventh-year NBA forward responded when asked if Sochan missing extended time provides an opportunity for Osman to solidify what he can do in San Antonio. “But I don’t think that I will change my approach to the game. I’ll just keep being myself.”

Osman pointed out that the team’s second and third leading scorers, Devin Vassell and Keldon Johnson, didn’t play Sunday either.

“Obviously tonight’s game was different and I had a chance to get more playing time because we had some guys that were out. I was trying to do my best. I’m really happy that I was able to go out there and do some good stuff. We’ll see how it goes and if I’m going to start again, I’m going to be ready for when I start.”

The organization has not given an indication as to when more will be made public about Sochan’s status for the final two weeks of the season.

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