Talk about adding injury to insult. After three quarters against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night, the San Antonio Spurs were down 85-63. Then came the even worse news: Manu Ginobili suffered a left calf contusion and will miss the rest of the game:
Injury report: Manu Ginobili (left calf contusion) will not return to tonight's game.— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) April 9, 2014
San Antonio Express-News reporter Jeff McDonald had an update after the game:
Not in tonight's game story, but Manu on calf contusion: "I just got kneed. Usually those things are sore 24 hours and then you're fine."— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) April 9, 2014
The veteran forward played 15 minutes against the T-Wolves, scoring seven points on 3-of-7 shooting.
McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News wondered if Ginobili was kept out of the game for precautionary reasons rather than him being so injured he could no longer play:
Ginobili out for the rest of the game with a left calf contusion. Strikes me as more of a "what's the point of playing him now" thing.— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) April 9, 2014
McDonald answered that question after the game:
Could Ginobili had played if the game meant something? Manu: "I guess. It was pretty sore."— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) April 9, 2014
It would certainly make sense for head coach Gregg Popovich to decide discretion is the better part of valor. There's no point in playing an injured Ginobili—given his age and injury history—in a situation where you're down 20-plus heading into the fourth quarter.
Heading into Tuesday night, the Spurs were first in the Western Conference, with a 60-17 record. Even counting the T-Wolves game as a loss, San Antonio will be at worst 3.5 games ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Ginobili will no doubt play a big role on the team's postseason hopes. Keeping him off the court for another game or two may be the better decision if it means he's closer to 100 percent when the playoffs tip off.