Class of the NBA: San Antonio Spurs right to protect Manu Ginobili’s Olympic injury
News: The San Antonio Spurs today announced that Manu Ginobili will undergo surgery to correct a posterior impingement of his left ankle.
He originally suffered the injury in the Spurs-Suns series in the 2008 NBA Playoffs. The injury hampered Ginobili for the remainder of the postseason. After a rehabilitation program Ginobili was cleared to play in the 2008 Olympics. He re-aggravated the injury in the tournament’s semifinal round in a game versus the U.S.A. on August 22.
Following the conclusion of the Olympic Games Ginobili returned to San Antonio. An MRI conducted earlier this week confirmed that he had re-aggravated the injury and that there was no additional damage to the ankle or the ligament.
The surgery is expected to take place next week. Following the surgery the Spurs will announce a timeline for his return. (San Antonio Spurs.com)
Quick Analysis: The San Antonio Spurs could’ve have said I told you so. Instead they opted to protect their player.
This summer, Coach Gregg Popovich privately asked Ginobili to pass on the Olympics, fearing his swingman would pull a Jorge Garbajosa and tweak his injury in international play. The star listened, but chose to participate. The club respected his choice.
Today, when word broke of the injury, the organization could’ve gone Mark Cuban and vented about the risks NBA teams assume when stars participate in FIBA events. And Ginobili would have been a lamb for the lions, enduring criticism from reporters and fans.
Instead, San Antonio released a carefully crafted statement. There was no blame. There was no mention of private discussions. Only a timeline outlining when and where the injury happened.
Such loyalty is impressive. It was also the right thing to do. Ginobili was representing his country in the Olympics, not jet-skiing like Mark Madsen or snowboarding like Vladie Radmanovic. He was also Argentina’s flag bearer.
Ginobili is passionate about his country. His passion has benefited the Spurs time-and-time again, helping Popovich’s crew capture three NBA Titles.
Unfortunately, injuries are a bi-product of such passionate play. By protecting Ginobili from negative publicity, San Antonio has again shown they’re one of the NBA’s best organizations. And he’ll repay them in full during next year’s playoffs. Count on it.