The hits keep on coming for the San Antonio Spurs. With Manu Ginobili expected to miss three to four weeks with a strained left hamstring, the team is now down four rotation players. The depth at the wing is basically non-existent now.
Ginobili suffered the injury in the third quarter of the 97-90 loss to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday. When he cutting through the lane for a dunk, which is pretty rare at this point in his career, he began limping shortly after.
It’s a shame Ginobili had to be sidelined in what can be considered a pretty good bounce-back season after his decline in the playoffs last year. So far he’s averaged 12.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game in 23.7 minutes per game. As Marco Belinelli has taken the role of being the shooter off the bench, Ginobili’s presence as a ballhandler has worked out pretty well for him.
That’s a bit thin.
In the 96-86 loss to the Chicago Bulls last night, the Spurs realized making up for the scoring is going to be extremely difficult. Chicago, facing its own troubles with Derrick Rose hurt and recently trading Luol Deng away, held its own just fine with Jimmy Butler‘s 19 points leading the way.
As for the new Spurs starters? De Colo had eight points on 3-for-6 shooting, while Jeffers was scoreless and attempted only one shot.
De Colo has received plenty of criticism within the San Antonio fan base this season for not taking the leap in his NBA career and still posting his solid numbers exclusively in the D-League, and he hasn’t taken advantage of his opportunity now either. He’s averaged six points per game the past week.
The Spurs waived Malcolm Thomas to make room for Jeffers, since Jeffers is a guard whose reputation is based on solid defense. While he’s doing well in that area, it hurts his stock to see he can’t find any scoring opportunities. It’s a small sample size, but this is probably the only chance he’ll have at minutes before he wears his suits again or starts putting on an Austin Toros jersey.
There’s nothing San Antonio can really do at this point, aside from weathering the storm of injuries. Green and Splitter are both ahead of schedule, which will ease the pain somewhat. Leonard and Ginobili will most likely be out at least another three weeks, but that leaves about two months left for the two to get back into a groove before the postseason.
Until then, it’s time for the younger players to prove their worth to the team.