Practice Drills: Manu Ginobili to have surgery, out 6-8 weeks


While the San Antonio Spurs prepare for the Dallas Mavericks tomorrow morning, Spurs guard Manu Ginobili will be undergoing surgery to mend the broken left hand he sustained in Monday’s loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“They have to put it back together again, it’s broken,” San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said. “He’s going in in the morning, they’re going to do what they do, and 6-8 weeks is the most common thing that’s been thrown around so I assume that’ll be what it is.”

In Manu’s absence the San Antonio Spurs will start second year guard/forward James Anderson and have pushed forward the return of Gary Neal, who was scheduled to play a few games with the Austin Toros in a rehabilitation stint, to shore up the backcourt depth.

“If Manu was healthy, Gary would have played a couple of games in Austin without a doubt,” Popovich said. “With Manu’s injury since [Neal] is cleared to go five-on-five we figured we might as well go ahead and throw him into the fire.

“But he’s not coming early in the sense of he’s not ready to go. But he would have played a few games in Austin for sure.”

Anderson had a strong training camp and has appeared assertive in games so far this season, playing active defense and showing glimpses of an ability to create his own shot, even if hasn’t been able to convert them efficiently at 37.5% from the field and 18.8% from behind the three-point line.

“I can’t do what Manu does, what Manu does is a whole different thing,” Anderson said. “I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing, playing both ends of the court, and play the same way I’ve been playing.

“I think I’m more prepared than I was last year. I didn’t really know what to expect going into each game like I do this year. I fit in better with the flow of the game. My past has changed and I feel more comfortable in my role.”

Spurs sign Ike Diogu: With only four available big men on the roster, the Spurs have shored up their front court depth with the addition of forward Ike Diogu.

“We only have four bigs, that’s a bit lopsided for any team,” Popovich said. “He’s a good person and a solid big that understands the game so we’ll see how it goes.”

Diogu, a former no. 9 overall pick by the Golden State Warriors, has been a popular end of the bench guy amongst stat head for his ability to score points efficiently in a very limited amount of minutes. In San Antonio, Diogu provides another big body to bang in the trenches and perhaps a quick source of points on those wrong ends of back-to-backs when Duncan needs more of a rest.

“That’s what I’ve done my entire career,” Diogu said. “I’m a low post presence able to use either hand around the basket, grab offensive rebounds, that type of thing.

“I think people are going to be surprised with what I can do away from the basket. But first and foremost I’ll provide a big body down low.”


  • Francesco

    Following from my posts on the previous Manu related entry, advocating the tanking of THIS season as the only way to do something  rare in the NBA, and even rarer among small market teams: REBUILD ON THE FLY.

    The update lets us know Manu will be out for just about the rest of the regular season…

    People still think we should strive for a playoff spot ?
    The following is taken from the Express News

    “It’s interesting to look at how much more the Spurs have struggled without Ginobili in the lineup in recent seasons when he’s become a featured player for the team. In regular season games, the Spurs have notched a .714 winning percentage in the 638 career games with Ginobili playing. When he’s been out they are at .619. Since the 2006-07 season, the Spurs have really missed Ginobili during his absences. During that span in the regular season, San Antonio is 249-104 (.705) with Ginobili and 33-29 without him (.532). And it’s been more pronounced in the playoffs. During Ginobili’s career, the Spurs have played at .623 percentage clip for his 122 career playoff games. In the six games he missed — the five games of the 2009 series against Dallas and the opener of last season’s first-round upset series loss to Memphis — the Spurs have a .167 winning percentage.”

    I’m usually not one to agree with the majority just because it’s the majority, but the early reactions around the league are that the Spurs should, one way or another, start rebuilding.

  • Fradamek

    I think the Spurs have to go for the playoffs. Every team in the NBA will suffer some sort of major injury to their star players. I say this because they come into the season unconditioned, and their dodoes are still adjusting to the new shortened season. There is definitely more strain with the shortened schedule so the odds are that eventually the karma will even up for the stronger teams.
    You cannot escape fatigue, you can delay it but cannot escape it. From what we have seen from Manu, he is fresh and on fire. If I were the Spurs brass, I would take this as a resting period and get my team acclimatized to playing without Manu, test out the new guys and carve out plays that focus on the present resources. 
    Lets not tank the season, it is a very expensive season to tank, especially with Timmy being owed a cool 20 mil, for 20 mins of work on average, and the burdensome RJ. 
    Lets pick it up boys, all we need is a 3rd or 4th seed and hopefully we will get to the conference finals. Pray we do not meet OKC!

  • Anonymous

    How is Ike Dioug another “big body”? He is only 6’9″ according to his stat sheet, unless he has a long wingspan and can post up it looks like the Spurs have another power forward. Any knowledge about this guy? I hope he worksout and contibutes.

  • Bob

    The problem is that the Spurs have made no efforts to develop young talent. They surrounded the big 3 with aged veterans and now the big 3 are the veterans.

  • Deent

    I would like Guys familiar with the spurs and their thinking to tell me what they think about SA going after Nicolas Batum this summer!! I m pretty sure he d look good in a spurs uniform! The guy s still very young and has huge upsides!!

  • Len

    Maybe just maybe this is a blessing is disguise. 

    Rather than Pop and the Spurs leaning on Manu throughout the reg season, the team will be forced to develop new types of offense.  Then when Manu returns, the team will have a larger arsenal of offense instead of the endless hi PNR’s that Manu is so very good at.

    Or maybe I’m in denial.

  • Anonymous

    DeJuan Blair 2.0

  • Anonymous

    Interesting shape up for the Spurs this early in the season.  What happens will happen.

    Realistically, how can Manu be ready to positively compete (even at the end of the season) with a situation like this?  My best guess…he might be ready to perform at full speed by the end of the season.  But depending on how well the Spurs adjust to his absence might be a determining factor on which direction the Spurs may want to pursue this year compared to what they might be able to get in next years draft.

  • Hobson13

    I think the Spurs may have Batum 2.0 already on their roster.  Both Batum and Leonard are long, athletic guys who can run the floor.  Batum may be an inch or two taller, but Leonard is heavier and stronger.  At this point, neither have a great offensive game, but both project to be very good defenders.  The biggest difference between the two is that Leonard is almost 3 years younger.  In fact, at this point in the season, Leonard’s PER is 14.72 while Batum (who’s been in the league for 3 more years) is at 17.73.  IMO, I’d take Leonard at this point.

  • Hobson13

    If the Spurs were to tank the season it would be reasonable to believe we could get a high draft pick, say pick #6.  I think that it would also be fairly reasonable to believe we could still trade Parker for a half way decent pick (say pick #10) and some cap space.  Feel free to disagree, but I think these picks are fairly reasonable.

    If we were able to get #6 and #10, here are several options based upon Chad Ford’s Top 100 Draft Board:
    With #6 we could an extremely athletic PF in Thomas Robinson assuming a good PF like Jared Sullinger doesn’t drop.  With the #10 we could either draft another good young PF/SF (Terrence Jones or Quincy Miller) or perferably a good young C in Cody Zeller.

    In just one year, we might be able to completely retool our front line with two very good young prospects.  Even next year, with Manu back and Tim re-signing for less, we should be back in the playoffs.  The big difference is that we would have 4 very good young prospects (Leonard, Anderson, #6, and #10) along with a wad of cash to spend on Free Agents. 

    Again, I know I’m making a number of assumptions, but none, I think, are unreasonable.  IMO, we should take the short term pain for long term gain… 

  • Anonymous

    Not to mention if your scenario should play out…top picks to go along with salary to offer to an established free agent…who’s to say the Spurs (owner/staff) wouldn’t mind some short term pain.

    But just to appease…there’s no way the Spurs should tank A season in Duncan’s last year of contract in order to reap the possibilities of prolonged success.  No, that would be too demeaning.

    To which I would say…the Spurs are not a big market team that can be a front runner for a premier player in this league just by virtue of being interested in said player.  They have to be more crafty and cunning than just being able to throw money around.

  • Bob

    That’s a disgrace to Batum. He’s got a much better offensive game. He can hit the three and is more athletic. Leonard hasn’t shown too much at this point except rebounding.

  • Bob

    When a player goes down it’s always a good oportunity for the other players to step up. The ’99 Knicks were a perfect example. Ewing went down but they still made it to the Finals.

  • Anonymous

    Side note:

    This is Ginobili’s fifth season of having some sort of major injury that prevents him from playing an entire season healthy.

    I wonder if there is some sort of medical condition that makes him more prone to injury (two broken bones in the last year on plays that normally don’t produce that sort of injury) or is it he plays with that much fierce intensity that propels his body into fracture zone?

  • Hobson13

    Disgrace?  That’s a stong word for a guy who is only a decent young player.  It’s not like I compared Leonard to Scottie Pippen.  Either way, I don’t see the Front Office going after him this summer.

  • Aadil Khan

    This could be a blessing in disguise if we can hang on to a playoff seed while he’s out. Anyone remember two years ago where Ginobili struggled at the beggining of the season then he ABSOLUTELY caught fire in march where he was was putting up close to 30 a game and lit up the cavs for 30 plus and D wade for over 40? I remember during that span Manu was playing like a man possesed and it showed when they upset the Mavs in the first round. I actually don’t mind this injury to much considering Neal can get hot in a hurry and then I typically find that when Manu is struggling early in the year or isn’t playing at all then he usually ends hitting his stride just as the team enters the playoffs. This also helps him because we won’t have to worry about him burning out now. The only thing the Spurs need to do now is to keep TD fresh and to hang on to a playoff seed until Manu gets back. I feel like more then anything rather then production wise TD and Parker are gonna have to step more in terms of being vocal leaders rather then leading quietly by example if they want to make up for the fire Manu brought this team.

  • Anonymous

    I live in Portland and Blazers staff has always been very high on Batum, they indicate greater loyalty to him than to Wallace. His offense is much superior to KL’s, he has very nice shooting range, and is often used as a point forward in the second unit. In addition to being a capable rebounder, he’s a very good shotblocker, but his overrated at this point… He needs MUCH more aggressiveness and grit at both ends of the floor. I see Portland holding onto this group until Oden’s return (and next injury?) next season… they are looking like a top team with their 3 forwards, and will pay accordingly. They will be looking to draft/add a successor for Kurt Thomas and Camby, and maybe Oden, and are looking for a 4th guard… this might make them interested in one of our Bigs or Guards in exchange for their draft pick, but I seriously doubt they let go of Nic yet.

  • Hobson13

    I understand what you’re saying.  Batum is a very good player who will probably stay with Portland for a long time.  The question I was answering was whether or not the Spurs should go after him.  My answer is no.  Is KL as good as Batum this year?  No.  However, Batum has been in the league 3 years and Leonard has been in the league 6 games.  IMO, we just need to play the kid and let him develop, but I think Leonard has a very bright future as long as he continues to improve.

    P.S.  Unless my memory fails me, I believe the Spurs were VERY close to drafting Batum several years ago, but the Rockets grabbed him 1 pick before us and we got George Hill instead. 

  • Anonymous

    I was joining in on your side of the argument. At the time it stung not to get Batum who was my personal top target in that draftl… but at this point, I’ll be interested to see if SA goes after George Hill in free agency. He’s not exactly playing well in IND as of yet. We could trade Anderson to MIN for a second round pick (Festus Ezelii or one of the big Brazilians), and get back our 6th man.

  • Jesse Blanchard

    Bob, the surrounding cast is not the problem. The problem is the Big 3 itself. You win in this league with elite players. Manu Ginobili is the only one close to qualifying. It’s hard to develop elite talent from nothing.

  • Tim in Surrey

    A couple of things: First, Hill is unlikely to come back. He needs some time to get settled into Indiana’s scheme, too. Second, Anderson is worth a lot more than a second IMHO. Third, you’re not getting Festus with a 2nd rounder.

    That said, I would love, love, love the Spurs to get Festus. He plays for my alma mater, so I know quite a lot about him and he’s absolutely a Spurs kind of guy. He’s also quite raw at this point, but enormously talented. Whoever gets him will be happy.

  • Dcblanchard2_60

    Yea he does have a medical condition its called getting old. He is a player that plays balls to the wall but is no longer young.

  • Dcblanchard2_60

    I’m glad the Spurs have to much class to tank a season. I don’t think I could be a fan if they did. You give it all you have and let the chips fall where they may.