Looking forward to returning to game action with the Spurs sometime next week, veteran guard Manu Ginobili on Wednesday called the testicular injury he suffered during a game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Feb. 3 the worst – and most painful – of a 14-year career that already had included injuries to his ankles, knees, shoulders, elbows, arms, ribs, nose and various other parts of his body.

Asked to rank the injury among the many he has endured in his 14 seasons with the Spurs, Ginobili didn’t hesitate.

“I would say top top,” Ginobili said during a press conference that preceded Wednesday’s Spurs-Detroit Pistons game at The AT&T Center. “But the most painful, for sure, and really the most unexpected. Who doesn’t get hit in the nose or the elbow or twist an ankle or a knee, whatever. But a situation like that – do you know anybody who went through that? It’s very unusual.”

Spurs  guard Manu Ginobili addresses reporters  before Spurs game against Pistons on  Wednesday.
Spurs guard Manu Ginobili addresses reporters before Spurs game against Pistons on Wednesday. Photo by Mike Monroe.

Though he admitted he didn’t even care about playing again for the first week after surgery was required the same night the injury occurred, Ginobili is excited about the prospect of playing next week.

“For a week, I didn’t care about playing,” Ginobili said. “I was struggling. I was in pain and I didn’t even care. But you know how the human mind works, and after two weeks or three weeks I started to run, and I feel good, and I’m feeling more confident and everything is clicking.”

Cleared to begin doing some light basketball drills last week, Ginobili has progressed to practicing against members of team’s video operations staff. He is wearing a protective cup that he acknowledges will require some getting accustomed to, but is otherwise thrilled with his return to the game.

“I already played a little bit, and I think I am progressing great, and I am looking forward to playing next week,” he said. “Not sure if it’s going to be early in the week, later in the week, but I’m pretty sure it will happen. So far after the two practices that I did, no setbacks and everything is going great. I’m happy to be starting to think about playing.

“I played against the video guys and they tried to push me around a little bit. But it wasn’t like a real game. As soon as the team has a practice, I’m going to try and get in there. A more realistic practice. And from there, we’ll see. But I’m pretty optimistic, I’m not hesitating, I’m not in doubt, I’m not afraid. I’m protected, but it went great.”

Ginobili spent the months after the Spurs were eliminated from the 2015 NBA playoffs contemplating retirement but ultimately opted to return to the club for his 14th season. Suffering the most painful injury of his career caused him to consider the cruelty of fate, but only momentarily.

“The truth is that for the first four months (of the season) I was having a blast, a great time. So if I consider myself unlucky for a play like that I would be a complete idiot.

“I am a very lucky man. I’ve been here for 15 years, winning championships and doing what I like doing with great people. So I can take something like that. I will be fine.”


*Top Image:  The San Antonio Spurs 2015-2016 Roster and Coaching Staff.  Photo by Scott Ball. 

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Mike Monroe

Mike Monroe is a longtime, award-winning NBA and Spurs reporter who recently retired from the Express-News and is now contributing to the Rivard Report.