San Antonio Spurs: How Manu Ginobili Should Be Worked Back into the Lineup

Garrett JochnauCorrespondent IIFebruary 11, 2012

MEMPHIS, TN - APRIL 25: George Hill #3, Tim Duncan #21 and Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antonio Spurs watch from the bench in the fourth quarter during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on April 25, 2011 in Memphis, Tennessee. The Grizzlies won 104-86. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Manu Ginobili is a key part of the San Antonio Spurs' lineup. In fact, he may be the best player on their roster.

Tonight, against the New Jersey Nets, Manu will make his very anticipated return. Early in January, the star shooting guard suffered a broken wrist sidelining him for over a month.

And with the return of the Argentinean All-Star, many things can go wrong if he is not brought back properly.

During his absence, the Spurs had a record of 15-7, not bad for a team lacking their top player. Bench players like Kawhi Leonard and Gary Neal stepped up and filled the void very well. It would be very wise for Popovich to only play Ginobili limited minutes for the next few games.

Now don't get me wrong, Ginobili's return is key for the Spurs if they want to make a strong run at a top seed in the West, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him ride the bench for a few games. 

Even without him, the Spurs have been a top team in the league, currently on a six-game win streak. The younger players are getting hot and showing their true potential, and if Ginobili were to suddenly step in, he could mess all of that up.

Not to mention the fact that he could re aggravate his injury and miss even more time.

Also lets take a look at his opponents during the next few games:

New Jersey



Even without him, these should be easy wins for the Spurs who currently hold first place in the third best division in their conference.

Then, San Antonio has a long string of difficult opponents as they take on Los Angeles (Clippers), UtahPortlandDenver and Chicago before things settle down.

Ginobili should slowly make his return into the lineup in the next few days, playing no more than 10 minutes a game. He should be fully rested for the more difficult games, and even then shouldn't be played too much.

Why change up a system that has been working so well lately?