What follows is a translation of Manu Ginobili's latest column for Argentine newspaper La Nacion
SAN ANTONIO - Everything is quiet here at home. I would like to be on the road, travelling with the team and playing. It's no fun for me to be rehabbing but I'm OK. It's just a run of the mill injury so I'm taking it in stride. I'm on a progressive workout program and it's all going well. I think I should be back after the All-Star break.
As I watch my teammates play from afar, I'm taking every precaution to be able to join them on the trip. For the time being, I'm doing the boring stuff: running on the treadmill and the elliptical and swimming. I'm also doing posture exercises to not only strengthen the hamstring but also the glutes, spine and so on. I started running in the pool, then moved on to the treadmill and finally to the court - all that fun stuff. Today I worked with the ball a bit more. We are slowly getting there.
The silver lining is that this is a break in a very demanding season. I'm hoping everything goes back to normal and I can be on the court for the final stretch of the regular season. This situation bores me to no end but it's only for two or three weeks. I had some tests done to determine what caused the injury. A physical therapist and a trainer stayed behind with me and won't let me play until I complete the rehab process. They want to make sure the muscle has healed and won't rush anything.
My spirits are pretty high. Last season I went through three injuries and by the last one I instantly wanted to break things. This is my first injury of the season. If it can also be the last, that would be great. I'm staying calm and optimistic.
For the team, on the other hand, this is a very tough time. It's hard to power through having four key players out with injury. It means improvised starting lineups, signing stop-gap players and making adjustments. Two of the four, Danny and Tiago, are back and that's big because of their defense, their knowledge of the system and their ability to do what the team needs of them. With Leonard out (likely for as long as I will be) Green is our best perimeter defender. But the problem is we all got injured at the same time.
I'm sure the latest results are related to the absences. We don't have talent to spare, we can't coast and get wins; we need to work for them. All that aside, we are still not playing at our peak level. We have to get through this stretch. Right now I'm not worried about the other teams or whether we are ranked first, second or fifth. When the playoffs roll around we'll focus on that. Right now we just need to keep improving and stay healthy.
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I think in the US they are not even aware that the draw for the World Cup has been held. Their stars will play because they have managed to get that commitment from them that was lacking in the past. And it doesn't matter who makes it to Spain, they'll have a fantastic team. They have more size, explosiveness and talent than everyone else. Kevin Durant proved that in Turkey in 2010. Then you actually have to play the games and anything can happen. But they are the favorites no matter who makes the squad. They have talent to spare.
As for Argentina, it's a very difficult situation. Groups A and B are the toughest and they will face each other in the elimination round. The top eight teams are very evenly matched and truly anything can happen. I don't know much about Senegal or the Philippines so I don't know what they can do. But the road is dangerous because regardless of how Argentina does in the group stage, they will have to play a team from the other side: Serbia, France, Brazil or even Spain! They can finish first or fourth and the difference might come down to scoring differential. No result guarantees a favorable match-up. But I think we can place highly.
That "we" is about me as an Argentine, it doesn't mean I'm including myself. Like Julio (Lamas, the Argentine national team head coach) said, no one needs to convince me. I know what it means to play a World Cup and I care for my teammates and would love to play with them there. But what will determine my participation will be my mental and physical circumstances at the time.
On a different note, my wife's belly is growing fast. She is entering the third trimester. The other two are not interested about it in the slightest, by the way. When we talk to them about their brother, they say a couple of words and go back to what they were doing. They are really close, always together. If one is missing the other will ask about him. "Why isn't Dante here?" "Why isn't Nico here?" Every once in a while they have a little fall out, just like everyone else. But it's amazing how they manage to agree on what movies to watch and how much they share with each other. Their relationship is truly great. Everything is perfect in that area.
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