Manu wrote a new column for the Argentine newspaper La Nacion in which he talks about returning from his injury. Here's a translation, with a tip of the hat to Latin D for his assistance.
I Have to Find My Place and Gain Confidence
Except for my injured hand, my body hurts all over. I have no sensation in the area, so what comes next is getting in shape again. Those 40 days without playing I took much more calmly than previous injuries, although it is logical that makes you angry to waste so much time. After the lockout I had failed to get in shape physically and with the injury. I fell back, so I must be patient and start over.
The only thing different that I noticed, and realized at the time, on the court, was that I had doubts when I tried to steal the ball. I still think a little when I reach in with my hand. Both times I went with both, to protect me. It is natural and I have to correct it. When you have an ankle injury, it is the same. You do not jump to get the rebound with the same intensity to take care of yourself. It takes getting used to again.
Physically, I'm still far from the rest of the team. I have to go slowly. There is no other way to do this. I could not return full strength. I have to find my place, gain confidence, increase the minutes, and not change anything about the team. Because while at first the group was irregular, now it took shape in recent games and responded well. They won games that could have been lost easily.
Tony Parker is killing it. There are games where he can relax, but there are others that he is needed more. Pop told him he had to be more aggressive looking for his shot, because we don’t have many options. Pop insisted on that, and Tony is doing very well. That means he has to shoulder a lot of minutes, but I guess over time we will be adjusting the rotations and returning to the same system. We always stand out as a team that plays the entire team a lot and will remain so.
Of those who were added to the team, Danny Green has surprised me most. Last year he did not have many opportunities. He renewed his contract, and from the moment I stopped playing he has been defending very well and had two or three games over 20 points. And he does it so maturely, as if he had years on the team. He is not trying to be a spark coming to change everything. He adds and adjusts to the moment. Also playing well are Gary Neal and Tiago, who is very reliable, contributes in many ways, and allows good breaks for Tim.
It is apparent in this rare and demanding season that three teams that are getting along better. One that surprised me is Chicago, because they played several games without their leader and MVP, Derrick Rose, and it did not matter. They keep winning, stand out, and are solid. The other two are Miami and Oklahoma.
You see Westbrook and Durant play and you realize they are not affected by the season; the same with Wade and Lebron, with a marked difference from their athleticism that spares them the physical strain from a season like this with so many consecutive games.
Today we played against Detroit, the fourth of nine away games during the Rodeo Trip. We will be out 11 days, return home again one day, and then we go for a week. Among the strange things about this season is there are positive things to tell. For example, I spent four days in a row in New York and allowed me to make social visits I was not accustomed to - things I could not do in ten years I've been playing here in the US. With Tiago, I went to Rockefeller Center, with a great view of New York. There was time for a walk, to visit museums, and I could go to the theater. It is not very common in the NBA to have time for some sightseeing. On top of that, I got to play and we won. I enjoyed it very much. Hopefully it stays that way.