Spurs’ Patty Mills injures right ankle in practice

By Quixem Ramirez

April 26, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills (8) celebrates after making a three point shot against the Golden State Warriors in the fourth quarter at ORACLE Arena. The Spurs defeated the Warriors 107-101. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

As the backup point guard position becomes more contentious — with Cory Joseph making a case for a roster spot — injuries could play a major role in settling the rotation.

Patty Mills sprained his right ankle in practice according to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. Mills will miss at least the next two preseason games against the Atlanta Hawks and Denver Nuggets.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich indicated that Gary Neal would be the second point guard behind Tony Parker if the season started today. Joseph also was the benficiary of praise, which is saying a lot given Popovich’s natural hesitancy for most young players.

Mills totaled four points and an assist in 18 minutes against Montepaschi Siena. He missed four out of his five attempts while turning the ball over twice. Meanwhile, Neal tied Manu Ginobili for the team-high in points and Joseph created three steals and finished in double-figures.

The upper hand — and it is still premature to declare a victor with three weeks until the Spurs’ regular season opener on Oct. 31 — currently goes to Neal, whose experience and production exceed Mills’.