The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Hurting Spurs: Manu Ginobili to miss next 3-4 weeks with a strained left hamstring

  • Print

Those 36-year-old legs of Manu Ginobili's have been feeling pretty spry this season. That spring in his step that had been missing for so much of last season was back, helping the Argentine magician become a game-changer again for the San Antonio Spurs.

So when the lane opened up in the third quarter Tuesday night against the Houston Rockets, Ginobili decided to go for it. He rose up, cradled the ball in his left hand and threw down a solid, one-handed dunk. And with that, Ginobili joined the growing list of injured Spurs.

The team said Wednesday that Ginobili strained his left hamstring on the dunk and will miss the next three to four weeks.

Ginobili joins Danny Green (broken finger), Kawhi Leonard (broken left hand) and Tiago Splitter (sprained right shoulder) on the team's injured list, a run of bad luck that has torn apart the team's depth, particularly on the wing.

"You play the guys on the bench," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "We can't play the guys on the other team. I know that."

The team is hopeful Splitter, who hasn't played since Jan. 4, will return in time for the team's annual rodeo road trip, a 10-game stint that begins Monday in New Orleans. That would help out Tim Duncan and the big men up front, but the problems on the perimeter remain.

After struggling for much of last season, Ginobili signed a two-year contract to remain in San Antonio. He has rebounded this season to resume his role as the Spurs' playmaker off the bench, averaging 12.1 points, 4.5 assists and shooting 52 per cent on his 2-point shots. During a monthlong stretch from the middle of December to the middle of January, Ginobili scored at least 20 points five times in a 16-game span to help the Spurs once again establish themselves among the NBA's elite teams.

He's been pretty healthy as well, missing two games earlier in January because of a sore left hamstring before injuring it more severely on Tuesday night. Ginobili, who has long been the emotional centre of this close-knit team, was dejected as he limped off the court.

His injury puts even more responsibility on the shoulders of veteran Marco Belinelli, who has been a reliable shooter in a supporting role after coming over in free agency from the Chicago Bulls. Belinelli is averaging 10.9 points and shooting 46.7 per cent from 3-point range for the Spurs. With the injuries to Leonard and Green, Belinelli had become a starter on the wing and seen his playing time steadily increase.

Belinelli played 38 minutes in the loss to Houston, and the Spurs recently signed NBDL standout Othyus Jeffers to a 10-day contract to give them another warm body on the perimeter.

Thanks in large part to Ginobili's return to form, the Spurs entered Wednesday's game against the Bulls at 33-12, good for second place in the hyper-competitive Western Conference. But they've lost three of their last four games, are 1-11 against the top seven teams in the league and now face the daunting challenge of that long road trip without Ginobili, and with Portland (33-13) and the Clippers (32-15) right on their heels.

Chicago is facing its own injuries woes.

All-Star point guard Derrick Rose was lost for the season with a knee injury for the second consecutive year and starting centre Joakim Noah (illness) and guard Kirk Hinrich (right hamstring) are game-time decisions for tonight's game against San Antonio.

So, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said he has little empathy for the Spurs, not because Chicago is also battling injuries, but because of how deep San Antonio is.

"It's the nature of the league. It's the grind of an 82-game season. You're going to take injuries on. It's how you respond and the Spurs have always done a good job with that. It's the way the Spurs are built."

__

Follow Jon Krawczynski on Twitter: http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

RMTC preview of Good People

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Winnipeg’s best friend the dragon fly takes a break at English Gardens in Assiniboine Park Wednesday- A dragon fly can eat  food equal to its own weight in 30 minutes-Standup photo- June 13, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A goose cools off Thursday in water at Omands Creek Park-See Bryksa 30 day goose challenge- Day 25– June 21, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What Western Conference teams will emerge from the first round of the NHL playoffs?

View Results

Ads by Google