By Jeff McDonald
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Manu Ginobili left the locker room at the FedEx Forum on Sunday night and headed down a corridor toward the team bus, dragging his sore left leg behind him like luggage.
With Tim Duncan already on the shelf with a sprained left ankle, it was a sight the Spurs did not want to see.
Ginobili, the team’s leading scorer, suffered a left quadriceps contusion in the first half of the Spurs’ 111-104 loss to Memphis. The injury occurred in a collision with Grizzlies forward Marc Gasol.
Officially, Ginobili’s status for tonight’s rematch with Portland at the ATT Center is uncertain. Hobbling out of Memphis, however, he didn’t look like an NBA player less than 24 hours from his next game.
“I’ll get some rest and some treatment, and then we’ll see how it feels,” Ginobili said.
With less than 2 1/2 minutes to go in the second quarter, Gasol ambushed Ginobili on a trap. Unaware of the charging defender, Ginobili whirled, and Gasol’s knee caught him just above his own left knee.
Ginobili immediately collapsed in pain, then left for the locker room. He tried to return for the second half but lasted just 5:50 of the third quarter before leaving the game for good.
“At first, when I came to the bench, I thought I was going to be OK,” Ginobili said. “Then it stiffened up. I can’t put my full weight on it.”
The injury is not considered serious but is painful. Leaving the arena Sunday, Ginobili was hoping — perhaps against hope — that compression machines would provide adequate healing powers to allow him to play against Portland.
Hill’s 30: A silver lining in the cloud that seemed to follow the Spurs to Memphis was the play of reserve guard George Hill.
Afforded 32:02 of playing time with Ginobili out, Hill scored 30 points to equal a career high set against Houston on March 31 of last season.
It was a significant turnabout for Hill, who had 24 points in the three previous games combined and hadn’t enjoyed a 20-point game since March 2.
He said Sunday’s breakout did not occur because of Ginobili’s absence, but because of a recent conversation with coach Gregg Popovich.
“He just wanted me to play basketball and stop thinking so much, just have fun out there,” Hill said.
Popovich was pleased with a performance from Hill that included 12 free throw tries, of which he made 11, a testament to the guard’s assertiveness.
“I want George to continue to play with that kind of scoring mentality, because he’s good at it,” Popovich said.
Guess who?: With the Trail Blazers visiting the ATT Center tonight, the Spurs did watch film of their epic collapse in Portland on Friday, including Nicolas Batum’s game-winning alley-oop from Andre Miller.
Hill said it wasn’t the horror show people might assume.
“You always watch film to try to get better,” Hill said. “But it’s nothing we harped on.”
Asked if tonight were too soon to exact revenge for Friday’s heartbreak, Hill called it “just another game on the schedule.”