Spurs Nation reported yesterday that Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginobili will not be traveling with the team for the season opener. Evidently, Ginobili’s back is still bothering him. According to head coach Gregg Popovich, Ginobili tried to take the court for one practice before the season started and “couldn’t do it.”
The Spurs saw Ginobili average a career low minutes last year, at 23.3 minutes per contest. To be sure, most of the noise surrounding his shortened minutes can be credited to the 35 year old guard’s adjustments to aging. It’s still is worth mentioning that Ginobili has been bothered by his back for a good portion of the off season.
Also worth mentioning is that Ginobili’s contract is up this year. Would this seemingly nagging back injury translate into Ginobili’s retirement?
The last few seasons have seen the Spurs’ star sixth man going down on multiple occasions to different injuries. The reason that becomes relevant all of a sudden is that the Spurs look old. When I say that, I don’t mean the same “gosh, they look old” of the last couple of seasons, where they at least looked like they could compete.
With Duncan somehow still managing to be a productive player last year, ever battling father time, and Parker going far to silence doubters of his efficiency, can we really expect repeats? Ginobili facing back pains adds to a load of age-related troubles for the Spurs. His ability to finish in very unorthodox ways has made Ginobili a staple of San Antonio’s offense. With his back now seeming more and more like a liability, one has to wonder: how many more “surprising” years do the Spurs have left?
Ginobili’s largely unsure projection for this season leaves an opportunity for solid players like Kawhi Leonard (7.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg last year). Perhaps the 2nd year player out of San Diego State could even find a more emphasized niche as another go-to option for the Spurs.
San Antonio continues to fight time, and so only time will tell.
Mohamed Abdihakim is a journalism student at Florida Atlantic University. He is a Phoenix Suns fan, who is not prepared for the possibility of Nash winning a title in a Lakers jersey. Mohamed is also a contributor at “Les Snobs”. Interests include International basketball, Mad Men, and blues music. Nearly all stats are credited to Hoopdata or Basketball-Reference.
Twitter handle: @Abdi_hakim