Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Express News: Ginobili does not regret playing in the Olympics


Ginobili does not regret playing in Olympics
Mike Monroe - Express-News

After more than an hour on a runway in Beijing, another 12 in the air, an hour clearing customs at Chicago's O'Hare Airport and three more waiting for a connecting flight, Spurs star Manu Ginobili arrived at San Antonio International Airport late Monday night and discovered the truth about heroes.

When it comes to lost luggage, Olympic medalists get no special favors.

Missing were three of the four bags he and his wife had checked in Beijing, where Ginobili collected a bronze medal as the leading scorer for the Argentine Olympic team.

“I actually got 25 percent — three out of four (were missing),” Ginobili said.

Ginobili's value to the Spurs was reinforced. There to retrieve him was coach Gregg Popovich, who planted a kiss on his cheek as he spirited him away from a brief interview session.

The two had spoken by phone after Ginobili suffered another injury Friday to the left ankle that had hampered him during the Spurs' playoff run. The Spurs medical staff will re-examine Ginobili's ankle this week, though Popovich made it clear Ginobili's first priority is getting some rest.

“He's been on a plane a long time,” Popovich said as he ushered him out of the terminal.

Ginobili said Popovich had not questioned his decision to play in the Olympics, despite the injury in Argentina's loss to the United States in the Olympic semifinal round.

“That's how it felt from 8,000 miles away,” Ginobili said. “He understood, and I was truthful from what I said from the beginning. I felt great for a month-and-a-half. I guess it was going to happen sooner or later, and it did. So now I have a month to rehab it.”

The injury did not diminish Ginobili's pride in earning his second Olympic medal.

“I'm so proud, so happy to represent our country the way we did it, in accomplishing the big goal, which was to get to the podium,” Ginobili said. “They said that for us, it would be once in a lifetime. For us, it was two times in a lifetime, so we are very happy.”

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