It's hard to imagine San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili would be playing at a high level this season and being named a 2011 Western Conference All-Star after suffering ankle injuries in seasons past, considering his age and commitments to playing in international competition for Argentina which brought on wear-and-tear and exhaustion.
However, for Ginobili it's not the physical, it's the mental that matters and it's what keeps him going game-in and game-out:
“Basketball is not just about your legs. You have to use your head, your experience, be responsible, respect your opponents,” Ginobili said. “The season isn’t won by (the squad) that beats three or four teams, but the one that defeats everybody,” he said.
Luckily for the Spurs and their fans, he chose not to play this past summer in Turkey at the World Championships for Argentina to rest and be with his children.
That rest has proven invaluable for the Spurs as he is leading the team in scoring at 17.8 points, is averaging 30.8 minutes per game and has helped the Spurs to an NBA-leading record at 51-12.
But let's not forget Spurs fans, after this NBA season is over, he will be playing in the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship in Mar del Plata, Argentina for the Argentina national team this summer and is looking forward to it:
“I’m really looking forward to it and playing at home after 10 years will be great. We’re all very excited and it’s going to be a great championship,” Ginobili said.
This will be a concern for the Spurs and their fans considering that the Spurs are primed to make a deep playoff run, the amount of time he is seeing on the court this season, and knowing his international play this summer will only add to his wear-and-tear.
Let's just hope he comes back from the tournament injury-free, well rested, and hopefully looking to defend the NBA title for the Spurs next season.