Sunday, July 13, 2008

Express News: Ginobili might still play in Olympics

Spurs: Ginobili might still play in Olympics
By Jeff McDonald

It appears Manu Ginobili could be leaning toward playing in the Olympic Games after all.

After struggling all summer with a jammed left ankle that cast his availability for Argentina's national team in doubt, Ginobili told reporters in his home country he was optimistic he would be able to play next month in Beijing.

“Today, I feel I am more in than out of the Olympics,” he said Thursday.

Two weeks after the Spurs' playoff ouster, Ginobili's ankle was so sore that coach Gregg Popovich said the guard should “definitely not” play in Beijing if it did not improve.

Now, it appears Ginobili might meet that criterion.

Last week, Spurs assistant trainer Chad Bergman accompanied Ginobili back to Argentina, where the national team has begun scrimmaging in preparation for the Olympics. Ginobili has not participated in those workouts, but the Spurs have been pleased with his progress so far.

No timetable has been set for Ginobili's decision.

“He's progressing,” Spurs general manager R.C. Buford said. “When it's time to play, he'll make a decision then.”

El Contusion II: The injury news wasn't quite so good for the Spurs' other Argentine Olympian.

Fabricio Oberto, the Spurs' on-again, off-again starting center, suffered a bruised left quadriceps in a scrimmage against Poland earlier this week.

The injury is considered minor, and Oberto is expected to miss only a week of workouts.

Bye-bye Barry: Friday marked Brent Barry's first official day with the Houston Rockets.

After four seasons with the Spurs, Barry signed a two-year deal with the Rockets this week. In doing so, he could become the third Barry to finish his career in Houston, joining father Rick and brother Jon.

“Brent and his family have been big part of last four years, of two championships and a great locker room,” Buford said. “He'll be sorely missed.”

Still, Buford couldn't resist one last good-natured gig at the Rockets' newest guard Friday.

“We wish him well,” Buford said, “but hopefully we'll be kicking his butt a few times during the season.”

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