Pivot Points: The San Antonio Spurs Are a Brittle Bunch

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer INovember 20, 2009

DALLAS - APRIL 25:  Forward Tim Duncan #21 and Tony Parker #9 of the San Antonio Spurs during a 99-90 loss against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center on April 25, 2009 in Dallas, Texas. 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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

It was inevitable that it would come to this. However, the fact that it is happening so early in the season is a little surprising. It was announced, in a rare statement from the San Antonio Spurs, that Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker would miss time due to injuries.

It seems like I've heard that before, and I hope you can excuse my sarcasm, but who out there really thought that at some point this season that someone from the Spurs wouldn't be sidelined by an injury?

To say the Spurs are injury-prone is like saying that stop signs are red, it's a well known fact. The big three of Tim Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili have already missed time due to injuries and the season is not even 20 games old.

There is no estimate as to when Ginobili will return with his latest groin injury, and Parker has suffered yet another injury to his ankles.

Maybe they are not getting their vitamins, because as talented as the Spurs, are they just can't seem to remain healthy.  The Spurs are usually slow-starters, but in the West this year, that could equate to postseason suicide.

It appears that every team in the Western Conference, outside of the Hornets, Clippers, Warriors, and Grizzlies, has a legitimate shot to make the playoffs.  Even the Hornets are still capable of getting there with a healthy Chris Paul.

So where does that leave the Spurs? Well, currently it leaves them stuck below .500 and staring up at everyone in the division, and it has the potential to get worse.

Depending on the severity of Ginobili's groin and the speed at which Parker can recover from his ankle sprain, San Antonio could find itself struggling to stay afloat until the mid point of the season.

It must be discouraging for the Spurs, as Richard Jefferson was just becoming comfortable in the rotation and the Spurs were just beginning to establish a distinct chemistry among their reserves.

The question San Antonio fans must ask themselves now is, if the Spurs are suffering from injuries this early, what in the world will they look like come playoff time when the contests become more brutal?

There are other, potentially more damaging questions also, such as, has the shelf-life of Ginobili already expired? I know that Manu is only in his seventh season, but he has already had a career's worth of injuries and it must be frustrating for both him and the organization.

A lot of it has to do with his reckless style of play and how he sacrifices his body. However, you have to wonder if he realizes that at this stage in his career, he has to take more caution to avoid injuries at the times his teammates need him the most.

Or maybe it's something that he can't help, maybe he's destined to finish his career in unspectacular fashion, unable to ever be fully healthy again. That would be a shame, because at his best, Ginobili is a special player.

The issue with Tony Parker and his ankles is just as troubling, because it seems that it is a chronic problem. It's hard for me to remember the last time Parker had totally healthy wheels.

For a player like Parker, these injuries are devastating because he depends on his quickness and his ability to make crisp cut.  Without that, he cannot play his game.

For the time being, Tim Duncan must rally the troops and hold down the fort until his fallen teammates can once again join him in battle. However, that is a task in itself because Duncan himself, is not entirely healthy.

The Spurs only hopes seem to rest in the hands of their reserves, who must keep San Antonio within striking distance until their team is healthy again.

The reserves are gaining valuable experience, and to be honest, they haven't played all that bad. But that doesn't change the bottom line, which is that the team remains rooted at 4-6.

In order for the Spurs to fulfill their own expectations, and become a viable challenger for the Western Conference title, they have to find a way to remain healthy.

Judging by the first part of the season, that may be easier said than done.


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