In his first game with the Spurs in more than six weeks, second-year point guard Cory Joseph fouled out in just 10:47 against the Kings on Friday at the AT&T Center,

“Of course, he was a little antsy and fouled out in a short time,” veteran Manu Ginobili said, “but I think you can see he’s going to contribute.”

Aware of Joseph’s antsiness, coach Gregg Popovich made sure Joseph, who has spent most of this season with the D-League Austin Toros, would be prepared to start at point guard in the Spurs’ first game without injured All-Star Tony Parker.

“(He told me) the day before the game,” said Joseph, considerably less frenetic in Sunday’s start against the Pistons. The former UT standout, the Spurs’ first-round pick in the 2011 NBA draft, scored eight points and had four assists in less than 18 minutes of the 114-75 rout.

“He let me know, so I was just getting ready for it the day before the game, trying to get focused to go in there and do my best.”

Popovich said Joseph’s ability to defend baseline to baseline was the reason he started Joseph, who has played only 40 games with the Spurs.

“I liked his defense,” Popovich said. “I liked his aggressive attitude, as far as loose balls, sticking his nose in. He’s a really committed physical player.”

Spurs guard Gary Neal, who had been Parker’s primary backup before lower left leg injuries caused him to miss some games, said Joseph’s task Sunday was simple.