by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

Tim Duncan, widely regarded as the NBA’s greatest power forward of all time, is in the twilight of his career.

Last season, he posted career lows in minutes (28.4), points (13.4) and rebounds (8.9) per game, and though he avoided injury for much of the year, his body did eventually break down as the Playoffs approached.

Physically, things are only going to get worse for the 35-year old Duncan, right? Well, not necessarily.

According to the San Antonio Spurs’ new Director of Athletic Performance, anyway.

From Gator Zone (via the Express-News):

[Matt] Herring has two national championships on his résumé and memories of a lifetime during his time as [the University of Florida’s] strength-and-conditioning coordinator. Oddly enough, Herring is leaving Gainesville to return to San Antonio, where he has been named Director of Athletic Performance for the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs. Herring is also returning home. The Texas native and his wife’s family live in Texas.

Herring starts his new job on Sept. 1 and joins an organization that has won four NBA titles, more than any franchise other than the Celtics, Lakers and Bulls. With the lockout creating uncertainty over the start of the 2011-12 NBA season, Herring is focused on building relationships with San Antonio’s current staff, led by longtime head coach Gregg Popovich, and creating a strength-and-conditioning program for the veteran Spurs once they return. … “You have an impact on their lives – their livelihood and their career,” he said. “You can have a positive impact on a guy like Tim Duncan and helping him get three, four, five more years out of his career and end on his terms.”

Tim Duncan hadn’t missed a game last season until the left ankle sprain in late March. It will be up to Matt Herring to help Duncan remain strong and healthy going forward.

Spurs fans can only hope that this will translate into steady contribution from their Hall of Famer for a few more years.