SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Tim Duncan was on the floor for several minutes, grabbing his left leg. Then he was helped to the trainer's room by teammates Stephen Jackson and DeJuan Blair.
And just like that, all the excitement for another San Antonio victory was gone.
Duncan sprained his left knee and right ankle in the first half, but the Spurs went on to a 96-86 win over the Washington Wizards on Saturday night for their 10th consecutive victory.
Tony Parker had 19 points and 12 assists for San Antonio (38-11), which has won 18 straight at home. Danny Green added 15 points and Tiago Splitter scored 12.
Duncan left the locker room without speaking to reporters, but Parker said he talked to his fellow All-Star after the game.
``He's fine, he's fine,' Parker said. ``It's nothing big. I'm sure (coach Gregg Popovich) is going to be very conscious about his knee and we'll see.'
The injury appeared to be much worse when Duncan went down with 3:54 left in the second quarter.
Washington's Martell Webster rolled into the back of Duncan's legs while fighting for a rebound with 3:54 left in the second quarter, and there were audible gasps in the crowd while the two-time NBA MVP was down. Play continued, prompting Popovich to continually scream for a timeout.
``That was scary when you see that,' Washington coach Randy Wittman said. ``Those are always the ones you don't want to see when a guy falls into you while your feet are planted on the ground. I just talked to his doctors and they said he is going to be fine.'
Duncan returned to the lineup after missing the past four games with a sore left knee. Recently selected to his 14th All-Star game, Duncan is averaging 17.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game this season.
The crowd gave Duncan a loud ovation as he rose and was helped to the trainer's room. The fans than began chanting ``Let's Go Spurs' in unison, which seemed to help the team overcome the shock of the injury.
San Antonio closed the first half on an 11-3 run, with Parker scoring two points and picking up two assists, and led 51-26 at the break.
Duncan had eight points and five rebounds in 13 minutes before the injuries, helping San Antonio get off to a fast start.
John Wall scored 21 points and Webster had 14 for Washington (11-35), which has lost 13 straight to San Antonio.
San Antonio used its superior ball movement and rotating defense to dominate Washington from the start.
Green ran in front of Wall to grab the opening tip, sprinting to the basket to throw down a one-handed dunk against the former No. 1 overall pick. San Antonio opened the game with a 15-4 run sparked by Parker and Duncan. The Spurs' All-Stars were a combined 5 for 5 from the field with Parker picking up three assists in the spurt.
Washington shot 35 percent from the field in first quarter and finished at 40 percent overall.
The Wizards battled back in the second half, pulling within six with 8:37 left.
``One half we were ready to play and the second half we got real lackadaisical,' Jackson said. ``We started clock watching instead of playing defense and they were able to get back into the game and that wasn't acceptable if you all had heard Pop coming in here and screaming.'
Wall had 15 points in the second half, Webster added 10 and Nene and Chris Singleton each scored all 11 of their points in the final two quarters.
Jackson refused to blame Duncan's injury for the lack of focus in the second half, but it clearly had an impact.
``That's going on through everybody's mind - `What's happening?'' he said. ``To have our best player go down like that holding his knee and ankle is kind of frustrating but we had a game to play. We don't know how long he's going to be out, but we've still got to get the job done regardless of who is out there.'
Splitter re-energized the Spurs, scoring on a dunk and a reverse layup to make it 77-67 with 7:28 left. Splitter had six points and two rebounds in the final quarter and Parker added five points and three assists.
``In the second half, we lost our focus and the defense dissipated and that let them get back in the game,' Popovich said. ``Once again, Tony and Tiago were great. They were steady the entire night. We got it done.'
NOTES: Spurs G Manu Ginobili was sidelined by left hamstring tightness. ... Washington F Trevor Booker (sore left wrist) was a late scratch. ... The Wizards have had nine different leading scorers for an individual game, with six in the last 10 games. ... Washington's last win in San Antonio was 99-89 on Dec. 11, 1999. ... Wall was averaging 13.7 points, 6.5 assists and 2.9 rebounds since returning from injury. ... San Antonio was playing its final home game before its annual ``Rodeo Road Trip.' The Spurs will play nine straight road games while the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo is held at the AT&T Center.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved