One look at San Antonio's injury list should tell fans how the Spurs' young season has gone so far. Manu Ginobili has been out of action since having surgery on a bad ankle before the season started, but unfortunately he now has company for the next couple of weeks. Tony Parker, coming off a career performance on Nov. 5 against Minnesota where he scored 55 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, and dished out 10 assists, followed up that game with a severely sprained ankle against Miami that looks to cost him at least a couple of weeks.
With two of their most dangerous players sidelined, San Antonio has mucked its way through the first eight games of the season to a 3-5 start. That's the bad news. The good news is that the Southwest Division is a competitive one, and the Spurs only remain 2 games out of first. One of their three wins was last Friday's 77-75 defensive battle against division leading Houston.
Another bright spot for San Antonio has been the play of their rookie point guard, George Hill. Certainly, by drafting Hill in with the 26th pick in the draft last year, the Spurs were looking for a quality back up point guard to spell Parker, while developing him along the way. Having Hill step into a starting position so early in his career was probably not in the cards, but it is now, nevertheless, the reality--at least on a temporary basis.
For his part, the rookie out of IUIPUI has filled in reasonably well, although there is no one that can replace Parker. Hill's best game of his short professional career came at an opportune time. In the game against Houston, Hill was outstanding, scoring 17 points on 8-13 shooting, and dishing out 5 assists to go along with 6 rebounds. For the season, Hill has scored 11, 2, 6, 12, 4, and 17, so his scoring has certainly not been steady, but he only has 4 turnovers on the year, which has to make Spurs' fans happy.
The bright side of Hill's heavy amount of playing time is that he is getting lots of valuable experience early on in the season, which should pay dividends in the playoffs.
While two of the San Antonio Big Three have had their injury issues this season, Tim Duncan has been his usual dominant self. The Big Fundamental is averaging just under 25 points per game and just under 10 rebounds.
As far as Ginobili's rehab is concerned, all signs indicate that his rehab is proceeding very well, and that it's possible he could return earlier than anticipated (mid-December). Hopefully that is the case, but Ginobili's return should not be rushed at all, and certainly Popovich realizes this, and will allow him to return to the court when he is 100%.
At this point in the season, and with the injuries that have accrued, the San Antonio Spurs just have to hope to hold serve for the next month and keep Houston and New Orleans in their sights until they have a complete team again.