Below is my translation of Manu's latest column for La Nación.
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I'm doing everything I can to make it back in time for the playoffs
I'm trying to find the silver lining by thinking that while my teammates have to travel to freezing Denver I get to enjoy the sunshine with my kids. They always look at me the same, whether I'm well or not, whether I win or lose games. But from a professional standpoint, this is a huge bummer, like any forced time off. I knew that if I suffered another injury things would be very complicated and now it's happened. Right now I'm doing everything I can to make it back in time for the playoffs.
The injury was similar to the last one, but this time it was on my right hamstring, not my left one. I'm starting to jog, following every step of the recovery process, but I had an ultrasound done and the tear is still there, so there are only so many activities I can actually do at the moment.
As for my contractual situation, I'm going to be a free agent after this season. There was no chance of working out a new deal earlier. Tim didn't do it last season and I won't do it now. I've said I wanted to play for two more years and I still think that makes the most sense. These injuries, however, are a pain in the ass. I'm not saying I'm thinking about retirement, because the injury is relatively minor, but you never know how it's going to be when you return.
As I think about it, this year was tougher than usual, not only for me but for other important members of the team as well. Stephen Jackson and Kawhi Leonard missed 20 games each, and Duncan and Parker about 15 a piece. Tony also had some minor issues that kept him out of the last couple of games, as has Boris Diaw.
Considering that, I think it's even more laudable that we are still in the run for the first spot in the tougher Western Conference, which is filled with good teams. Getting over 55 wins (we are at 57) is a big accomplishment and we still have a chance to get to 60, which is not something a lot of teams achieve.
The first spot, however, is not in the bag. We have five games left, some very tough. We have Denver away, Sacramento at home, an away back-to-back against the Lakers and the Warriors and finally Minnesota at home.
The playoff picture is not clear yet, with a lot of teams fighting it out at the bottom half, which means that getting the first or second seed doesn't change things much. The possible opponents are many. It could be Houston, Utah or the Lakers. Or Dallas, although that would be improbable. It could even be Golden State. Whoever we end up facing will be tough, and we won't really know which team it is until the last minute. That's why we are only focusing on ourselves at the moment and not speculating on who our opponent might be.
Pop is trying to plan for what's coming while patching holes amidst all these setbacks. We are fine, but we are not coming into the playoffs at our peak performance, like we would have wanted to.
The day of my injury, against the Clippers, I left the game as a precaution; I had no idea it would be this bad. When the tests showed there was a tear, it was a tough blow. It was demoralizing because, even though I wasn't playing particularly well, I was feeling great, physically. The first five days were tough but now I'm pumped again, looking forward to returning to the court to help my team.