Manu’s Injury Worst Break For Spurs


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HANG TIME TEXAS – Just last week Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was sounding delighted that the good health of second-year players James Anderson and Tiago Splitter could give his team the kind of added depth necessary to weather the rigors of this condensed season.

Now Pop is sounding the alarm.

The Celtics had to open the season with Paul Pierce missing a few games due to a bruised heel and the Lakers have had to adjust to Kobe Bryant playing with torn ligaments in his wrist.

But the Spurs became the first team to take a serious hit to their starting lineup when Manu Ginobili broke a bone in his left (shooting) hand Monday night in Minneapolis while trying to make a steal.

As our good friend Mike Monroe points out in the San Antonio Express-News, the Spurs are losing more than just their leading scorer in Ginobili:

The two-time All-Star is to be re-examined by the Spurs’ medical staff today, after which a timeline for his return will be determined.

By the time the Timberwolves claimed their second victory of the season, the Spurs already were counting the ways they will have to cope without one of their most important players and their emotional touchstone.

“It’s going to be tough for us, because he was playing at an All-Star level,” said Parker, painfully aware Ginobili entered Monday’s game leading the team in scoring (19.8 points per game), shooting (60.5 percent) and 3-point shooting (54.2 percent). “Now everybody is going to have to pick it up and play better.”

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said James Anderson would move into the starting spot at shooting guard until Ginobili returns.

Anderson said he will be in the gym at the Spurs’ practice facility today, even if Popovich doesn’t call an official practice session.

“With him gone, I’m just going to have to get in the gym for some extra work and try to fulfill that role the best I can. He’s one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle on this team. Without him, we lose a lot of stuff, and that’s on both ends.”

It is so much more than the almost 20 points a game from Ginobili that the Spurs will be missing. He’s their heart, their soul, their spark, their engine at both ends of the floor. While we watch the 35-year-old Tim Duncan age before our eyes and Tony Parker not quite rise to the level of someone who can carry his team every night, Ginobili is the difference-maker for the Spurs.

Just look back at last spring, when Ginobili suffered a broken bone in his elbow in the Spurs’ regular-season finale. Then, in the playoffs, the Spurs saw a 61-21 regular season record go up in smoke when he couldn’t perform up to his ability in the stunning first-round loss to the No. 8 seeded Grizzlies.

Anderson showed flashes of his talents in a rookie season that was curtailed by a stress fracture in his right foot. But nobody can expect him to replace Ginobili’s leadership and clutch play. Now without Manu in the lineup, it could be difficult for the Spurs to keep with the likes of the Thunder, Nuggets, Trail Blazers and Lakers in the upper part of the Western Conference playoff bracket. And with Popovich wanting to monitor minutes and keep a veteran team fresh for the playoffs, it could make a desperate push to gain ground from behind unwise.

Not that there will ever be breathing room in the tightly-packed schedule this season. But the injury catches the Spurs at a time when they play 17 games in January, more than any other NBA team. So even if Ginobili can get back onto the court in four weeks, he could miss nearly one-third of the regular season.

On the down side, the Tim Griffin of the Express-News notes that while Carlos Boozer missed the first 15 games with the Bulls last season due to a broken fifth metacarpal bone, it’s an injury that has left several baseball players on the shelf for months:

2009 — Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Eric Byrnes sustained a broken fifth metacarpal on his left hand when he was struck by a pitch by Scott Feldman. He was out of action for 63 games, missing more than two months.

2009 — Atlanta Braves outfielder Omar Infante sustained a broken fifth metacarpal on his left hand when he was struck by a pitch by Manny Corpas. He missed 73 games and was out of the lineup for nearly three months.

2004 — Oakland A’s third baseman Eric Chavez sustained a broken fifth metacarpal on his right hand after getting hit by a pitch from Damaso Marte. He missed 33 games over about six weeks.
http://blog.mysanantonio.com/spursnation/2012/01/02/ginobili-breaks-hand-in-defeat/

No injury to a starter is ever good. The hard truth, this is the worst one of all for the Spurs.

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13 Comments

  1. Awesome blog article.Really thank you! Want more.

  2. duncan says:

    Tim Duncan really needs to step up. He should take 20 shots per game and be more aggressive in rebounding.

  3. Mark says:

    I was watching the game yesterday, and one of the reportes said that Gary Neal is going to come back soon, maybe next week, so that would be a good news for the spurs. They can still winning games, maybe not against the elite teams, but they can make the playoffs until manu is ready to play.

  4. 007 says:

    We need George Hill to come back so they 5’s can work it out

  5. spurs fan says:

    tony parker will need to step up..TD is not good anymore but his defensive presence is there..only tony can make a spark for the spurs hope he can back his all star season and we have a great bench players hope gary neil can play right now..win or lose spurs all the way

  6. Spades says:

    This might be a blessing in disguise. I hope the Spurs throw a couple games on purpose to get into the lottery. There’s so much talent this year and they could get a potential franchise anchor in this year’s draft. I’d love to see Mr. Jones III in my silver and black.

  7. Sperms says:

    the spurs once again officially done, congrats

  8. Sunny says:

    Hope Manu is fine. It is time for James Anderson to step up.
    GO SPURS GO!

  9. JT says:

    This will hurt the spurs without a doubt in short run however, if you think about this. This is a blessing in disguise. Their spark is going to come in with about 20 games left most likely, and he will be well rested and healthy. Since it is a hand injury, he can keep himself in shape also. So now with the season winding down the spurs could win at least 15 of those games. With that said, they will then probably make the playoffs and have a healthy full speed manu in the post season which was completely absent in their fall to the grizz last year. I see this being a huge factor and they are now i think in contention with LAL and OKC to win WFC (I personally believe, if the bracket works out the way i have it going, it will be Spurs vs Lakers (good chance of them playing in semi finals though)

  10. Cedric says:

    I’m one of the biggest Spurs fan and I still don’t understand why they have not gotten any better player knowing that Duncan,Manu,Parker are on there last stance.They need help or they might not even make the playoffs.

  11. Mau says:

    Manu is an exceptional player. He’s got that X Factor that makes him unique. He’s incredibly talented and has an amazing competitive drive. The Spurs are a completely different team without him. It’s not going to be easy to cope with such a loss.

  12. NBA Tweets says:

    Sad news for Manu. I guess this opens up the door for Tony Parker, Richard Jefferson and DeJuan Blair to score more points. Hopefully the Spurs bench can also contribute. Also wish Timmy-D can go back to his 20-point 10-rebound 2-block self again!

    Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/theyplayinNBA

  13. Martin says:

    You can see Manu and Tim’s face, they are worried about that