Manu Ginobili looked tired by the end of Game 7 of the NBA Finals — that was game 103 in the Spurs season and while it was just 81 for Ginobili combine that with his work to get and stay healthy and that’s a grind.
During those Finals Ginobili artfully Eurostepped around questions of his future, but when the season ended it only took a few days for him to decide to return to San Antonio.
“By the end of the season–and I mean the regular season and not the playoffs– I thought about it a lot. I was so tired of it. I hadn’t suffered a muscle strain in my whole life and I went through three in four months. I felt negative, fed up. And I thought about retiring. I hadn’t come close to making up my mind but I thought it was something I had to discuss with my wife, “what if…?” She told me that it was my decision and she was fine either way. But when I recovered physically I started to feel better about it all. When the season ended I grieved for 48, 72 hours and I didn’t feel retired. I knew something was missing, that I still wanted to play….
“The physical part. Having to keep rehabilitating and getting in shape after injuries. Having to play with the parking break on because I’m coming back from a muscle strain. That wore me out and it was hard. I have a great time when I’m healthy and playing, I feel lucky playing with the team and coaching staff I play for. But the physical problems drained me.”
Ginobili reached a two-year deal with the Spurs for $14 million. He will be 36 and 37 those two seasons, which means a lot more rehabilitation and some injury recovery. Ginobili averaged 11.8 points a game last season — his lowest average since his rookie year — and shot just 42.5 percent. He wasn’t the same player and while the price is better for San Antonio you have to wonder how much he can give.
At the end of those two seasons expect him to retire (and Tim Duncan and who knows who else from that core). But Ginobili wasn’t ready yet.