SAN ANTONIO — Doug McDermott is expected to miss the remainder of the 2021-22 season with an ankle sprain, the Spurs announced on Wednesday.
The veteran sharpshooter suffered a Grade 3 sprain of his right ankle in a loss to the Pacers. He averaged 11 points per game and shot 42% from three in his first year in San Antonio, starting in all 51 of the games that he appeared in.
The team said that an MRI in San Antonio confirmed the severity of the sprain, which occurred in the first few minutes of the contest on March 12 at the AT&T Center.
"McDermott, who immediately started a rehabilitation program, is expected to miss the remainder of the 2021-22 regular season," the team said in a release before the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.
Including the contest against the Thunder, San Antonio has 13 games remaining as they fight for the play-in. McDermott and Keldon Johnson are the only two Spurs to average at least two made three-point shots per game, and both hit over 40%.
Throughout the season, McDermott has shown himself to be more than just a shooter. His game is a study in constant motion without the basketball, flying off screens toward the arc or the cup with a finishing skillset that compliments San Antonio's young core rather well. San Antonio is just 26-43 on the year, but they were 19-10 in games where McDermott hit his scoring average.
"He's been important the whole year, you hate to lose him here down the stretch when we're in the position that we're in," Popovich said before the game against OKC.
After the All Star Break, McDermott hit a bit of a rough patch and shot just 27.6% from three as his scoring average dipped. McDermott is signed for the next two seasons on a deal that will pay him $13.75 million per year.
It will hurt the team's consistency and depth losing a starter like McBuckets, but it will also be an opportunity for Gregg Popovich to try different lineups and spread those minutes around.
A likely replacement for McDermott is the recently-acquired Josh Richardson, who has started in four of the last five games. He's hitting 40% from three with a ton of off ball movement, and plays smart, gritty defense as well.
Richardson was announced as the starter for Wednesday night's game. This stretch run will be a good chance for the Spurs to see how Richardson fits, and also to showcase his abilities before he enters the final year of his contract.