Spurs vs. Timberwolves preview: Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Andrei Kirilenko out

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves are both short-handed on Wednesday as Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Andrei Kirilenko will all sit with injuries.

The San Antonio Spurs open a nine-game, Rodeo-driven road trip against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, and they'll start the trek without two of their best players.

Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will miss the game with injuries despite traveling with the Spurs and going through shooting drills, according to Minneapolis Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda. Duncan is listed as day-to-day as he recovers from an ankle sprain and knee injury, while Ginobili has a tight hamstring. Minnesota, who has a laundry list of injuries on the year, will be without Andrei Kirilenko, who strained his quad on Monday against the Portland Trail Blazers.

So how will the teams adjust?

San Antonio has dealt with this before, and the answer is quite simple. Point guard Tony Parker will be a highly relied-upon scorer, and that's not too much to ask. Parker is one of four NBA players this season to average at least 20 points while hitting more than 50 percent from the floor.

Meanwhile, the Timberwolves, losers of 12 of their last 14 games, could go with two combo forwards or three guards. Nikola Pekovic will hold down the middle, Derrick Williams has been starting at power forward, and the point-guard duo of Luke Ridnour and Ricky Rubio will get a go once again. Either guard Alexey Shved or Dante Cunningham could start for head coach Rick Adelman, depending on how he'd like to match up with the Spurs.

What's a Rodeo road trip?

The Spurs annually hit the trail to allow the Stock Show and Rodeo to take over AT&T Center. This is the first game of the trip and the 11th season San Antonio has vacated its home arena. In that span, they've played a full season on the road, going an utterly impressive 58-24.

Stephen Jackson was a player who went on the first of those trips in 2003. An anecdote from Spurs Nation:

... Jackson made a stop at the AT&T Center fair grounds to see what the fuss was about.

Savoring a concession-stand turkey leg amid the unappetizing stench of bulls and broncos, Jackson gave the dining experience the kind of review that won't be appearing in the next Zagat's guide.

"If you can handle the smell of a little manure, you can eat good," Jackson said this week. "You've got to be able to take a little doo-doo."

Behind the numbers

The Spurs have played a few times without Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan this season, but it hasn't seemed to matter much. Whomever is playing, Gregg Popovich's team is winning. Much of it has to do with a defense that ranks third-best in the NBA, according to Basketball-Reference.com. Kawhi Leonard's return to the starting lineup in late December has led to the team playing the best defense in the NBA since, according to ESPN.

Meanwhile, the Timberwolves rank 21st in points per 100 possessions, and 13th in defensive ratings, but injuries to the likes of Kevin Love, Chase Budinger, Malcolm Lee and Brandon Roy have ultimately caused huge problems for Minnesota this year.

Time: 9 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

Odds: San Antonio opened as 4.5-point favorites.

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