San Antonio Spurs’ Manu Ginobili isn’t playing for Team Argentina at the 2014 FIBA World Cup since his leg injury (stress fracture) did not fully heal in time. Add the fact the Spurs strongly urged him to sit out to avoid further risk of injury and Manu announced there’s a 98 percent chance he may never play for Team Argentina again.
But if Ginobili was fully recovered, he admits he would have ignored the Spurs’ request for him to sit out and had no issues putting a strain on his relationship with San Antonio.
“If I had come to this point, it could have affected my relationship with the Spurs because to put it simply, I would have disobeyed their orders,” he says. “But I would have done it if I felt in a condition to play.
Considering this is more than likely the end of the “Golden Era” of Argentine basketball, playing for his home country one last time is enough of a pull for Manu to ignore the Spurs’ interest in him being healthy. Playing for Argentina is a huge honor for Manu and means a lot to him, so it’s not too much of a surprise to hear him say he would have ignored the Spurs.
However, if he would have played, healthy or not, Manu would have not only risked injury, he would have also put the Spurs’ chances at repeating as NBA champs for the first time ever in franchise history in doubt. The Spurs need a healthy Ginobili if they want to accomplish this task.
Manu knows where the Spurs are coming from when they strongly urged him to not suit up for Argentina and the Spurs know his love to represent his home country is strong.
Neither side was going to be happy and in the end, Team Argentina lost out.
In the end, it came down to his health. Manu’s leg injury just wasn’t healing fast enough and he even admitted there was still some pain.
“But when it came time to train, the pain was still there. This is the third time this has happened. I know when the pain starts, it never stops. I knew there was no way that I could play.”
Manu is 37 and has dealt with many injuries in his pro-career. Even former Spur Brent Barry called him “El Contusion” because of his battles with various injuries.
Ginobili’s time playing at a high level are nearing an end and who knows if next season will be his last in the NBA.
“I do not like to speculate on how this will end.” He says. “I know I’m going to play next season. If I feel like I felt this season, I will continue without hesitation. If it’s like the season before, I do not know. More than age, what matters most is my health and the mental aspect. In terms of basketball, I’m in the perfect location. I’m with a team that takes very good care of me, in which I have a role and do not ask me to do more. I am a leader for my teammates. And I feel respected enough to not have to prove myself everyday. So if I feel like last season, I will continue to play.”
It would have been very interesting if Manu did ignore the Spurs and played. I wonder how the team brass and coaching staff would have dealt with him and his insubordination.
Hopefully with him sitting out of summer play will extend Manu’s time in sliver and black, and allow him a chance to ignore father time and help San Antonio push for yet another title.
(via Basket USA)