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How Far Can Spurs Go Without Ginobili?

By Daniel Strickland on April 7, 2009.

I just heard the bad news, and honestly, I’m not surprised.

Manu Ginobili will miss the remainder of the season, including the playoffs, because of a stress fracture in his right leg.

Ginobili experienced stiffness in his right leg during Sunday’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. An MRI and CT scan taken on Monday revealed the stress fracture.

The Spurs’ medical staff had thought five weeks of rest would allow Ginobili’s ankle enough time to heal, but he never completely regained his explosiveness. He complained of soreness after Sunday’s loss.

With Tim Duncan also slowed by sore knees, the Spurs have lost seven of their past 13 games. They entered Monday holding the Western Conference’s No. 3 seed, but can slip as far as eighth depending on how they do in their final six games.

I think Johnny Ludden is pessimistic to suggest that the Spurs could ‘slip as far as eighth,’ but fifth or sixth does seem plausible. Who knows, maybe the Spurs will get motivated to hold on to the third seed. Regardless, I’m not ready to write off the season just yet, no matter what the guys at PtR are saying.

Using results from Yahoo’s Playoff Scenario Generator, my guess is that the Spurs will face the Rockets or Blazers in the first round, then the Nuggets or Jazz.

The Spurs can beat the Rockets without Ginobili. They did when they played three weeks ago, thanks in no small part to Drew Gooden’s 13 points in 15 minutes.

The Spurs can beat the Nuggets without Ginobili. Everyone remembers the last time the Spurs and Nuggets played – even with Duncan, Parker, Ginobili and Finley on the bench, the Nuggets struggled to win what should have been a sure thing.

Can the Spurs beat the Blazers or Jazz without Ginobili? We’ll see this week — the Spurs play the Blazers on Wednesday and the Jazz on Friday.

The bottom line is that the Spurs are an experienced, battle-tested team, even without Ginobili. Let’s not write-off the Spurs season just yet.

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