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Ginobili out 3-4 weeks with hamstring strain

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 29, 2014 at 8:35 pm •  Published: January 29, 2014
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Those 36-year-old legs of Manu Ginobili's have been feeling pretty spry this season. That spring in his step that had been missing for so much of last season was back, helping the Argentine magician become a game-changer again for the San Antonio Spurs.

So when the lane opened up in the third quarter Tuesday night against the Houston Rockets, Ginobili decided to go for it. He rose up, cradled the ball in his left hand and threw down a solid, one-handed dunk. And with that, Ginobili joined the growing list of injured Spurs.

The team said Wednesday that Ginobili strained his left hamstring on the dunk and will miss the next three to four weeks.

Ginobili joins Danny Green (broken finger), Kawhi Leonard (broken left hand) and Tiago Splitter (sprained right shoulder) on the team's injured list, a run of bad luck that has torn apart the team's depth, particularly on the wing.

"You play the guys on the bench," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "We can't play the guys on the other team. I know that."

The team is hopeful Splitter, who hasn't played since Jan. 4, will return in time for the team's annual rodeo road trip, a 10-game stint that begins Monday in New Orleans. That would help out Tim Duncan and the big men up front, but the problems on the perimeter remain.

After struggling for much of last season, Ginobili signed a two-year contract to remain in San Antonio. He has rebounded this season to resume his role as the Spurs' playmaker off the bench, averaging 12.1 points, 4.5 assists and shooting 52 percent on his 2-point shots. During a monthlong stretch from the middle of December to the middle of January, Ginobili scored at least 20 points five times in a 16-game span to help the Spurs once again establish themselves among the NBA's elite teams.

He's been pretty healthy as well, missing two games earlier in January because of a sore left hamstring before injuring it more severely on Tuesday night. Ginobili, who has long been the emotional center of this close-knit team, was dejected as he limped off the court.

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