Athletes in all sports tend to look back on their careers and think of the personal sacrifices they had to make to achieve greatness, but San Antonio Spurs star Manu Ginobili will have a unique story to tell when his career comes to a close.
"I gave my right one," Ginobili said. "I gave it all, I gave it all. I gave my right one for the Spurs, I can say it; I can really say it. It’s true."
Ginobili suffered the injury during a game against the New Orleans Pelicans in February. When Ryan Anderson was backing him down in the paint and went up for a shot, his right knee made contact with Ginobili.
After missing 12 games, Ginobili spoke to ESPN.com's Michael C. Wright about the situation in March:
Got hurt badly, and nobody expected anything like that. I had to sit for a month. It was very painful. The first week was very tough. But after that, I started to get better.
It was not much experience on this because it never happened before in the franchise. The doctor never had an athlete [suffer such an injury]. So we were just figuring it out. But a few days ago, he told me I was clear to do whatever I wanted to do as long as I don't feel pain or discomfort afterward. I'm progressing great. I practiced a little bit. I'm feeling good. I've been lifting, conditioning. I'm ready to play.
The 39-year-old is no stranger to injuries. He's missed 12-plus games in each of the last five seasons, though Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has done a masterful job of limiting his older players' minutes so they have fresh legs for the postseason.
Even with all the injuries Ginobili has suffered throughout his career, it's hard to imagine a male athlete enduring a more painful situation and having the ability to joke about it afterward.