New Spurs forward Rudy Gay made the trip to Sacramento for the team’s preseason opener tonight. He will not play in the game against his old team, however.

Gay, 31, is on the mend after suffering an Achilles tendon tear in a game with Sacramento on Jan. 18, and coach Gregg Popovich is intent handling the Spurs’ new addition with care.

“That’s just what I do,” Popovich said. “I’m more conservative. I’m probably going to bring him along more slowly than he’s going to want to.”

After nearly nine months of rehab, Gay is champing at the bit to get back on the floor. Doctors have cleared him to play. He still has to convince his new coach.

“We’ve already had those conversations in camp,” Gay said. “He’s trying to pull me back and I’m like, ‘No coach, I’m a basketball player. That’s what I’m here for.’ ”

Monday’s shootaround brought back memories for Gay. He ended his workout by taking some jumpers from the same corner where he crumpled to the court after his injury in January.