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Manu Ginobili played with a broken arm

Eric Freeman
Ball Don't Lie

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When the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs were bounced from the first round by the Memphis Grizzlies, it marked the potential end of a championship window for a team that's been a contender for more than a decade. (Just ask Tony Parker.) Several players, including Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, looked aged and slow.

It turns out there was good reason for Ginobili's general lack of dominance. Because, no big deal, he was playing with a broken arm. From Tim Griffin on Spurs Nation (via PBT):

Ginobili told the Argentine website Noticiasmdq.com that he sustained a small fracture of the right humerus, the long bone in the arm that runs from the shoulder to the elbow. The injury occurred in the final game of the regular season on April 13 when he was trapped in a collision between Tim Duncan and Phoenix's Grant Hill.

The Spurs originally announced that Ginobili sustained a sprained elbow. He missed the first game of the playoffs and then played the remaining five games with the injury in the six-game series loss to Memphis. He averaged a team-leading 20.6 points per game against the Grizzlies despite playing with a balky brace.

Here's what he told Argentine reporters (translation provided by ProjectSpurs.com).

"Last Wednesday, the medical staff of San Antonio I had the last MRI," Ginobili said. "The liquid has been absorbed and small fracture in the humerus is welded at 85 percent. I have to be doing nothing for 3 weeks and then begin slowly."

Well, I suppose we now know why he wore what seemed to be Barry Bonds' elbow guard during the series.

Ginobili wasn't at his best vs. the Grizzlies, but, as Griffin notes, he was still one of the better Spurs. He did miss Game 1, but that seems minor when put up against the seriousness of this injury.

Manu has earned a reputation as a flopper during his NBA career, but he has played through more injuries than virtually any other person in the league. He may sell fouls beyond what's reasonable, but that doesn't mean he's soft. In fact, he's about as tough as they come.

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