The San Antonio Spurs opened their season against the Oklahoma City Thunder last night in San Antonio. Missing from the action was one of the more integral players on the Spurs' roster. Manu Ginobili sat out last night while still battling back spasms.
According to Joe Alexander of the San Antonio Express, Ginobili has not practiced for the last week. He began experiencing back spasms during the preseason after spending much of the 2011-12 season battling injuries. The Spurs hope this is a temporary thing and expect him back on the court soon.
“He is really close. I think he will be okay for the weekend. He hasn’t practiced in five, six, seven days,” Coach Greg Popovich said. “He didn’t play last night. It doesn’t make much sense to play him when he hasn’t practiced or had any contact yet.”Ginobili has been a big part of the Spurs offense since joining the team in 2002. Ginobili, who was drafted in 1999 out of Spain, has averaged 15.2 points per game in his career. He had a career-high points per game of 19.5 during the 2007-08 season. Ginobili does not just score though, he helps others score. He has averaged 3.9 assists in his career.
The Spurs will need Ginobili's veteran presence if they are going to make a similar run to the run they made last season. Toward the end of the season, the Spurs looked virtually unbeatable. Of course, they fell short of their goal. However, San Antonio is running out of time with this current roster. Tim Duncan doesn't have much more time left, and Ginobili surely doesn't either. He is 35 and nearing the end of his career.