San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said the team would take its time before throwing new acquisition Rudy Gay into the fire. Team doctors have cleared gay after undergoing nine months of rehabilitation from an Achilles tendon tear that he sustained in January. “That’s just what I do,” Popovich told the San Antonio Express-News. “I’m more conservative. I’m probably going to bring him along more slowly than he’s going to want to.”

Popovich said Gay tried to convince him to allow him to play but the veteran coach insisted that he plans to be conservative and to bring him along “more slowly than he’s going to want to.” Gay joined the Spurs’ shootaround when they took on the Sacramento Kings Monday but did not play.

Gay played for the Kings for 3 ½ seasons before he opted out of his $14 million player option. He then signed a two-year, $17 million deal with the Spurs.

Gay willing to play the sixth man

Meanwhile, Popovich said that he has yet to determine what position Gay will play if he returns. “I don’t know if he’s going to get more minutes at the three or four. We talk about it all the time,” said Popovich. Gay, for his part, is willing to play any role that coach Popovich sees fit for him to help the team effectively. Gay assured that he would give his best, whether he’s used as a starter or a sixth man. Gay is known as a scorer during his time with the Memphis Grizzlies, the Toronto Raptors, and the Kings, averaging 18.4 points in 753 career NBA games.

Last season, Gay played just 30 games with the Kings, averaging 18.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.

Popovich happy with Parker’s recovery

Popovich said he was surprised with the fast recovery of point guard Tony Parker from a torn quadriceps tendon that he suffered in last year’s playoff series against the Houston Rockets in May.

During an interview with the Express-News, Popovich said he was already assuming that Parker could be out for the rest of the calendar year. But now, Popovich said Parker may be ahead of schedule and might be ready by December.

In an earlier interview with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, the 35-year-old Parker said he needs another two months to get into playing shape, making November as a possible target for his return.

Last week, Parker said he was cleared by Spurs team doctors after he underwent an MRI. Now, the veteran point guard has been cleared to do weight work, running and shooting but not in contact drills.