The San Antonio Spurs announced veteran guard Manu Ginobili underwent surgery to repair a testicular injury suffered in Tuesday night’s victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Ginobili is reportedly expected to miss at least a month while recovering. The 38-year-old Argentine was defending New Orleans’ forward Ryan Anderson tight late in the fourth quarter when Anderson backed him down in the paint, turned, and sent his knee into Ginobili’s groin area.
Based off the video below, Anderson doesn’t appear to intentionally try to hurt Ginobili, but Ginobili was immediately in pain and he was taken out of the game with Spurs forward Tim Duncan helping him off the floor.
Serving his usual role as the Spurs first man off the bench, Ginobili’s averaging 10 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 3.3 assists in 19.7 minutes per game over 43 appearances this season. And even though those numbers are down compared to his production in the past, Ginobili’s play and presence are still highly integral to the Spurs success.
The Spurs (41-8) are currently second in the Western Conference standings and four games back of the defending champion Golden State Warriors for the conference’s top playoff seed. Losing Ginobili, who’s served as one of the team’s best leaders since he entered the league in 2002, does affect San Antonio’s depth, however his loss comes with just 10 days left until the NBA enters its All-Star Weekend break.
San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich will likely turn to veteran guard Patty Mills and rookie Jonathon Simmons to spell Ginobili’s absence, but three of the Spurs next four games before the All-Star break are on the road and two are against teams vying for postseason position, Dallas and Miami.
San Antonio will have six consecutive road games as part of their annual Rodeo road trip after the All-Star break. The Spurs are currently 14-8 on the road this season.