Before Tip-Off: Duncan-Ginobili game time decisions vs. Nuggets


SAN ANTONIO, TX – It’s a late start here in San Antonio as the San Antonio Spurs (25-11) prepare to face the visiting Denver Nuggets (20-17) at the AT&T Center, as both teams are having some health issues.

For the Spurs, shooting guard Manu Ginobili is hoping to take the court, but he’s still a game-time decision according to his head coach Gregg Popovich.

Joining Ginobili on the game-time decision list is forward Tim Duncan, who is suffering flu-like symptoms according to coach Pop.

“Tim is just sick,” said Popovich, ” (with) flu stomach poisoning.”

Ginobili ran by me in the hallway and he looked like a kid who just received candy after having to sit for 8-straight hours, coach Pop said Ginobili’s return is looking better.

“I would guess on the positive side.”

The Nuggets continue to struggle with injuries as forwards Nene and Danilo Gallinari, and guard Rudy Fernandez will put be out once again. Center Timofey Mozgov will give it a go against the Spurs. For coach Pop, facing the Nuggets’ high scoring offense is something that takes the whole defense to stop. 

“It’s called team defense no matter who you play,” Popovich told me. “Team defense is what’s most important. Team defense is what gets you stops in critical situations.”

This will be guard T.J. Ford’s third consecutive game since returning from injury, Coach Popovich commented on Ford’s development in returning to the lineup.

“It’s just a matter of time before he gets comfortable, it gets a little easier every game.”

If Ginobili does play, coach Pop spoke about how it is as Ginobili’s coach to watch his relentless play,

“There’s not much you can do, his style of play is such that he’s going to be involved in whatever’s going on out there.” “He’s such a competitor, you just hope for the best.”

Cory Joseph update: The Spurs sent young rookie point guard Cory Joseph back to the Austin Toros on Saturday, coach Popovich made it clear and simple why the decision was made. “I want him to play, I want him to play basketball,” said Pop, “it’s as simple as that.”