Manu Ginobili is tougher than you, me [Updated]

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I once sat out a high school basketball game with a sprained ankle that I suffered the day before. In my defense, I was already a slow and unathletic player when completely healthy and the ankle injury rendered me practically motionless.

If he heard that story, Manu Ginobili would probably stare at me blankly and leave the room without saying a word. That, or laugh at me uncontrollably until I’m at the point of tears. One or the other. No in between.

News has come out, thanks to the Spanish translating powers of Project Spurs, that Manu Ginobili’s sprained right elbow, suffered in the final game of the regular season, was in fact a humerus fracture. Basically, a broken upper arm. The injury news has since been confirmed by the Spurs.

Manu Ginobili playedthe final five games of the Spurs’ doomed first round series with the Memphis Grizzlies with a fractured right arm that was wrapped in foam padding and the hopes and dreams of all of San Antonio. That is a painfully impressive feat by the Argentine.

As reader Rogelio Garcia pointed out on our Facebook page, this is probably at least some of the motivation for Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich’s comments questioning the significance of the Boston Celtics Rajon Rondo’s elbow injury. When asked about Rondo coming back from a dislocated elbow in Boston’s second round series against the Miami Heat, Pop told the San Antonio Express-News:

“It’s really been hard to watch the playoffs and have them make Rondo out like Willis Reed,” Popovich said Thursday, in wide-ranging interview with the Express-News. “It’s like, Manu couldn’t even play the first game (against Memphis), and we probably shouldn’t have played him again. He went out there and worked through it, and you didn’t hear any of that kind of crap.”

“It’s like Rondo is the next coming of Willis Reed, the thing he did and the character he showed,” Popovich said. “Maybe he did show character and he was tough and all that, but it is no different than what Manu did. That just kind of angers me on a selfish level, so to speak.”

If Coach Pop knew what we all know now, that Manu actually had a fractured arm, then that justifies his comments somewhat. But watching the replays of Rondo’s elbow over and over again, Rondo’s injury was definitely gross, so Pop’s assessment is still a little harsh. Nonetheless, I think you can understand where he’s coming from a little more now.

As news of Manu’s fracture comes out — and looking at the fact that Ginobili averaged 20 points, four boards and four assists a game in San Antonio’s first round series with the Memphis Grizzlies — Tony Allen looks like a bit of a jerk-face. Allen, you may remember, questioned the authenticity of Ginobili’s injury during the playoffs.

“It’s for the birds,” Allen said. “Everybody is banged up. You don’t see me running to my PR guy telling him about an injury.”

Granted, Allen could’ve been trying to rile things up for the teams’ first round series when he made that comment; he may not have been sincere. But TA’s comments don’t look like the smartest at this point.

While one of the floppiest players in the NBA, Manu Ginobili continues to be one of the toughest also. The news of Ginobili’s injury leaking out now, more than four weeks after the Spurs season ended and almost six weeks since the injury occurred, proves the Spurs organization as one of the stealthiest.

[Update: Jeff McDonald of the Express-News tweets that Manu’s fractured arm may not be as big of a story as we all think it is.]

  • Anonymous

    Well, I guess this means fans have to cease attakcing Pop for having him sit out the first playoff game–trying to buy him a few extra days for the injury to stabilize somewhat. (You can still throw the coach under the bus for playing him in that final regular season game.)

    Re E-N Jeff McDonald update—thing keeps going back and forth and on and on.
    Now they will be concern about Manu playing for his national team this summer with a healing injury.

  • Ed

    True Grit.

  • Junierizzle

    WOW. And people said SPURS still would have lost with a healthy MANU, riiiiiiiiiiight. 30 points in Game 5 alone. TONY ALLEN is a good defender but he clearly was defending a MANU that shouldn’t have even been out there.
    I agree with POP. I think Rondo is a tough player but MANU did not and should have gotten the same Publicity. If it wasn’t for Skip Bayless then MANU and the SPURS would hardly get any love. Bayless said if MANU were American then he would have been the top story.

    It’s hard to let go. I think if MANU was healthy they could have passe by OKC and Dallas. Dallas is playing great but the SPURS know how to play them. I don’t know if they would have won the Finals but they would have at least made it there.

    MANU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KOT5IBN3VXXGKXC5B4VXH7U5AA Title Town

    Shit let him play. He’s getting older he just wants to enjoy what ability he has left as a pro baller. Soon he will be hanging up his hat and calling it a great career. If I were him I wouldn’t give a damn what the FO thinks. It was the FO that had him waiting until they decided to re-sign him.Let him be it’s not like he’s going to carry us next season anyway. We depend to much on Manu. Try getting Timmy to work a little harder in the off season if he wants that damn 5th ring. “All for Timmy” Well then Timmy can work his arse off I’m tired of seeing him look like gumby season after season. He looks like he never lifted a weight in his life. Imagine if he did? Manu has given his best years to us already its time for him to come off the bench with limited minutes like they did with Tim. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KOT5IBN3VXXGKXC5B4VXH7U5AA Title Town

    We still would have lost that series with Bonner and Blair eating up the minutes in the first 3 games. By the time 4th game rolled around it was too late anyway besides Bonner still ate up most of the minutes off the bench. And you know the outcome.

  • http://regularfan.blogspot.com/ Humberto

    I’d never want to incur the wrath of Pop on any level ;p

  • Junierizzle

    I guess you forgot what a healthy Manu can do.

  • MSteele_in_Éire

    This couldn’t be ‘the’ Titletown99030507d, is it?? Man to be honest that post was total trash.
    “Try getting Timmy to work a little harder in the off season” Tim probably works harder than anyone on the team. One thing I do agree with is bringing Manu off the bench. Give the starting role to Anderson or Neal or Butler then play Manu around 25-8 mins a game.

  • MSteele_in_Éire

    Manu is and always has been ridiculously tough. It is an absolute travesty that this story will not be covered the way it should be. It is amazing that he came out and dropped 30 in game 5 with a fractured upper arm. That is awesome, words cannot describe how highly I think of this guy. You hear a lot about having the ‘will to win’, well this guy really goes out and shows it.

  • Bob

    I think underscores the need for the front office to surround Ginobili with like minded competitors. It must be frustrating for him when guys are not playing their hardest.

  • Colin Rigney

    Sorry, but weight training (or lack thereof) isn’t what is slowing Duncan!  I’ve personally worked training and rehabbing professional athletes and I’ll tell you that we’re lucky to get him to perform well enough for this long.  The dude’s legs are almost gone and he has no spring or shock absorption in regard to performing at the level that fans like you think he should.  His knees are guaranteed to be replaced before age 50. 

    Have you “youtubed” any of young Duncan’s highlights in his prime?  He looked like gumby then too, except he had springs in his legs.    He has never relied on having a strong upper body and he is not David Robinson who had that cartoonish muscular frame from his inception into the league.  Robinson just put more weight on as he got older, as well as got much slower (bad back).  To think that TIm Duncan doesn’t weight train is just ignorant.  I can guarantee you that he spent at least 2-3 hrs in the gym today, whether it was with weights or a ball.   

    Duncan has lost the things that “weight training” can’t bring back.  The Spurs’ best bet at this point is to have Splitter and/or another big come in and carry more of a defensive/scoring load. 

  • Rob

    If anybody has ever had a fractured bone…you know the difficulty in just performing normal tasks.  His pain threshold level must be abnormally high for him to go out and perform the way he did.  Amazing!!!

  • Bruno

    Blame Pop for it

  • Aperfectcircle2121

    Hey Spurs fans! watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Le8rMnL56w8

  • Hassan

    Thanks Manu for trying & been our best players even with the injury….

  • Easy B

    What is everyone’s thoughts on the finals? As the spurs biggest rival, its easy to hate Dallas, but I find myself wanting them to win it this year. Of course they should do well considering they generally have an extra 5-10 mil a year to spend than us, but besides that, I respect the perserverance with the veterans on the team, most of whom have been handed it from the spurs over the years.
    Strategically, it will benefit us more if Dallas wins the whole thing:
    1) it will support the NBA value of veteran players
    2) it will galvanise the spurs into thinking they have another shot with timmy if they can buy more frontcourt
    3) it will subtley enhance the value of the role players on the spurs, and encourage POP to play a deeper rotation next year – especially the playoffs

  • Easy B

    The big thing I have seen with Dallas this playoffs is the versatility of Jason Kidd. He has stepped up his 3pt shooting, and massively, was able to use his superior ball smarts to cover Kobe effectively for most of the series! Really, that was huge. I think the spurs could do worse than find another ball-running, defending, big guard while Manu is still playing. Then offset their input with a pure point.
    Someone mentioned Rashard Lewis – that is offense, without the grit. Billups deal I like, because he will play his last year or two with heart. I thought about Brandon Roy, but I think we need to add defenders. Is J.Anderson going to defend or score? He looks athletic enough to be a solid defender, and hit a 3 and finish on the break. Does he have the desire…I think the spurs will figure that one out. Do we invest in Hill long term? He clearly has done what the franchise has asked to the best of his ability, but is it a case like Jefferson of fitting a square peg…
    Should we try to change the offense to accomodate Jefferson more? To do that, we need a more disciplined facilitator than TP.
    Here is a fantasy trade: Trade Tony, Bonner and either Blair or McDyess expiring(preferable) for Cavs for Irving and Jaimeson. That might not work 100%, but that is a rough guide. Sometimes to win, you have to lose. This would be a win for both. Cavs give up a high potential point, but end up with two top tier point’s, one of which they can package when they see fit. They offload Jameisons $14mil, and get prime talent and decent parts in return. They could probably trade Baron to Atlanta for Heinrich and another piece to complement tony in the backcourt. Reality is for Cleve, a young point will not transform them. An accomplished one with some pieces will get them back to the playoffs quickly. Would they do it? debatable. Manu and Hill would be able to guide Irving. Jameison would provide more low post offense, and cap relief. IF that trade somehow could happen, I would trade Jefferson and our picks for Brand at Philly. Maybe they throw in someone else to sweeten, like a bench guy. That would give us the upside, and immediate chance to do something in the playoffs, health permitting.
    Brand and Timmy, Jameison and Tiago, and some rookie big will do. It might not look like the best way to improve the roster, but the key thing is the alignment of aging stars and their contracts. It allows us to get a young point ready to lead a younger team when the corporate knowledge retires, and allows us to keep some young pieces to build on. Looking back at those trade proposals, if we don’t unload McD’s contract, we should get a young big or SF in one of the deals to balance out our squad.

  • Easy B

    Looking at the draft this year, our best chance to trade up lies in providing Tony and pieces for a veteran and a top pick PG. Kemba, Irving or Knight..all are good prospects. We could trade with UTAH for Kirilenko and pick. Perhaps trade to Washington for J Howard and Lewis and pick for Jefferson and Tony. Only if one of the three points is still available at 6th pick.
    All these deals don’t fit with spurs culture, but with the way the market has been moving, I think it is time that the spurs reshuffled their deck somewhat, and try to trade for quality in the draft. they won’t get an all star Pf, but maybe they can get a young backcourt star that future big guys would want to play with.

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  • guest

    again, why aren’t we blaming pop for this?  basically, we now know the griz were very, very good, and the spurs almost beat them without their best player.  why didn’t they have their best player?  because pop played the old guys rather than give them more rest.  yes, players can get hurt any time.  but to get hurt in a meaningless game at the end of a long season against a team with nothing to lose just seems really, really, really dumb.  as everyone said, the one thing that could derail the spurs was injuries.  everyone knowing that, why wasn’t the first priority avoiding injuries?  i usually can’t stand the people continually griping about pop, but the fact he gets a pass on this seems crazy to me, because he may have squandered the spurs last possible chance at another championship for a long, long time.

  • Bruno

    Bruno”Bruno
    Blame Pop for it2 days ago”

  • Bob

    Another blatant mistake he made was the no timeout call at the end of game 3 against the Grizz. You have to at least give yourself a chance. There was more than enough time to run a play and get a good look at the basket.

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