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Spurs’ Neal misses games after dreaded luggage zipper injury

Gary Neal, Aleksandar Rasic, Kristjan Kangur

San Antonio Spurs guard Gary Neal, center, drives between Montepaschi Siena players Aleksandar Rasic, left, of Serbia, and Kristjan Kangur, right, of Estonia during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Bahram Mark Sobhani)


Gary Neal, this is why there are rookies in the NBA. To do things like zip up your luggage so you don’t suffer an injury that keeps you out games.

Neal is expected back Monday night when the Spurs take on the Clippers, but he missed the team’s last two games for a reason that is going to lead to years of locker room mocking. From the San Antonio Express-News Spurs blog (hat tip to SLAM).

Neal had just enjoyed the best game of his NBA career, pouring in 27 points to spark a comeback victory over Portland, when fate intervened with a place in the annals of bizarre sports injuries — a gashed finger incurred while zipping up a piece of luggage prior to last week’s Lakers game at Staples Center.

“It’s bad luck, right?,” said Neal, who is averaging a career-high 10.1 points on 63.6 percent true shooting. “I was zipping up my bag, and I ripped it across the zipper and it just pulled the skin off. It was bad luck. Sometimes things happen.”

You don’t think Stephen Jackson might have brought that up in the locker room? Just be thankful he wasn’t on Kobe Bryant’s team.