HANGTIME SOUTHWEST – The San Antonio Spurs could again be without Manu Ginobili after he suffered a contusion to the left quadriceps in a collision with Boston’s Chris Wilcox Saturday night.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich did not sound optimistic that Ginobili will be fit to play in Monday’s showdown at Oklahoma City.
“He got a thigh contusion just above his knee and one would think he is going to be stiffer than hell tomorrow,” Popovich told reporters after the Spurs beat Boston, 103-88 to improve to 19-6, two games behind the Thunder in the loss column. “It’s hard to believe he’d be ready day after tomorrow for Oklahoma, but I’m not sure.”
The Spurs just hope Ginobili isn’t out for long. The way he gripped his leg on the floor for a few minutes late in the first quarter certainly had everyone holding their breath.
No stranger to sprains, strains and contusions, Ginobili, 35, missed the first two games of the season with back spasms. The only other game he missed was the infamous Miami no-show when Popovich sent four of his regulars home, resulting in a $250,000 fine levied by the league.
Having returned to his sixth man role, Ginobili is averaging 11.5 points a game on 42.1 percent shooting and 35.1 percent from the 3-point arc. While his stats are down, his presence as a creative playmaker and the attention he demands from defenses is impossible to duplicate.
The Spurs are expecting good news this week. Forward Stephen Jackson tweeted that he’s excited about returning to action on Monday against the Thunder. Jackson broke a finger in November.
Second-year forward Kawhi Leonard is also expected back some time this week after missing a month with quad tendinitis.