After more than a month on the sidelines recovering from an arthroscopic knee procedure, Devin Vassell appears prepared to return to the court for the San Antonio Spurs. The third-year swingman is probable on the latest injury report, and he could suit up when the Indiana Pacers visit the AT&T Center for a cross-conference contest tonight.
Vassell gradually progressed from the treadmill to solo workouts to three-on-three drills since his surgery on January 12. The Spurs never rush their players during the recovery process, so fans can probably expect them to ease him back into the starting rotation with a minutes restriction like how they handled Jeremy Sochan and Jakob Poeltl earlier this season.
Should Spurs fans be worried about Devin Vassell returning?
There are only two logical reasons anybody would be worried about Devin Vassell returning. One, coming back too soon could result in another more severe injury. And two, adding him to the lineup might make the Spurs win too many games and hurt their lottery odds. Both of these potential issues are overblown.
Unless you're a medical professional with firsthand information about how his body responded to physical therapy, there are no grounds for second-guessing the training staff giving Vassell the green light.
And for those concerned about San Antonio playing themselves out of the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes, the following fact might offer peace of mind. The Spurs are 8-21 with Vassell and 7-26 without him this season, a nominal difference that roughly equates to them winning five more games and finishing with a 20-62 record.
The 22-year-old guard averaged a career-high 19.4 points per game while cementing himself as a legitimate secondary scorer before lingering knee pain left him out of commission. With the Silver and Black pivoting toward player development, finding Devin Vassell shots, touches, and playmaking reps should take priority.