Spurs news briefs: Neal, the Coyote, a DUI and more

• San Antonio Spurs’ rookie Gary Neal has been turning heads in the NBA with his stellar play off the bench.  In a recent interview with SI.com, Neal admits playing in the NBA after a long-traveled road hasn’t fully sunk in:

“I know we’re a couple months into the season, but honestly it hasn’t sunk in yet,” Neal said. “I feel like I’ve been on a roller coaster that hasn’t stopped.”

“I can’t lie,” he said. “I couldn’t have predicted this.” He is now part of the rotation for the best team in the NBA, lobbing questions at Tim Duncan and getting answers. Neal’s wife lives with him in San Antonio, and when asked about the family he hopes to start, he said: “We’re working on that now.”

• The Spurs’ mascot, the Coyote, helped break ground on a new hospital in San Antonio. Leave it to the Spurs’ organization to continue to help the San Antonio community:

On its 141st anniversary, Christus Santa Rosa Health System officials broke ground Friday for a new, inpatient surgical hospital to serve the Alamo Heights area and north central San Antonio.

• Former San Antonio Spurs’ player Mario Elie was arrested for DUI in Sacramento, California. He has been released:

Sacramento Kings assistant coach Mario Elie was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving Thursday morning in downtown Sacramento.

Elie, 47, was arrested by the California Highway Patrol at 1:15 a.m. Thursday at Capitol Mall and 15th Street.

He was booked into Sacramento County Jail and has since been released. (source blogs.sacbee.com)

• Spurs’ rookie James Anderson is still out with an injury and in an interview with spurs.com, Anderson still remains in high hopes and cannot wait to get back on the court:

Spurs.com – Has it been frustrating to miss this much time so early on in the season?

James Anderson – It’s very frustrating. Especially coming off of the hamstring injury this summer. I really felt like I was starting out the season well and getting into a good rhythm. That said, I’m working to make a full recovery and get myself back out on the court.

Spurs.com – What have you been able to learn while watching the team’s fast start?

James Anderson – I’m definitely watching and learning. Every game we play I’m tuned in like I’m out there on the court. I’m paying attention to all of the little details and asking myself “What can I take from this? What can I learn?”.

• Spurs’ rookie Tiago Splitter has yet to make the huge impact Spurs’ fans felt he would make after deciding to join the Spurs. His adjustment to the NBA and the Spurs’ system has been slow and Splitter knows he needs to have patience:

Of all the adjustments the 6-foot-11 Splitter has had to make in relocating from Europe, learning to be a spectator has been the most difficult. He would have liked to have been a more meaningful participant in the Spurs’ 17-3 start. “I’m trying to fit in a team that is already made,” Splitter said. “Sometimes it’s tough for me. I just have to be patient.” (source Express News)

• Ime Udoka was signed shortly after the season after playing with the Spurs from 2007-2009. How does he feel to be back with the Spurs? Here is what he had to say:

“It feels like I never left,” he was saying after a recent shoot around. “It feels like old times.” (source spurs.com)