Ginobili rounding into shape slowly

Even after three days without games, Spurs guard Manu Ginobili isn’t certain he is ready yet for back-to-back outings.

“The rest was good, considering the games we’re having,” Ginobili said Tuesday. “(Playing back-to-back) would be a day-to-day thing. After tomorrow’s game, I’ll see. I don’t think I’m going to play that much, but Pop (coach Gregg Popovich) is still concerned, and it’s good that it’s like that.

“I’m feeling a little bit better than last week, so hopefully, I’ll start increasing to a point where I can go with everybody else.”

Ginobili has missed 28 games with a series of ailments: A fractured fifth metacarpal on his left hand; a strained left oblique; and, most recently, tightness in his right hip flexor. He sat out the front end of the back-to-back set Friday and Saturday in Oklahoma City and Dallas but has an eye on the back-to-back-to-back games on the schedule this weekend, beginning Friday against the Mavericks.

“The hip is much better,” he said. “Legs overall, and all around not the best I’ve ever felt, but much better than last week. So that’s what’s having me optimistic and ready.”

The Spurs are one of several teams using a cryosauna treatment in which players’ bodies are cooled below minus-200 degrees Fahrenheit, a process believed to optimize the healing process and promote general health.

“It’s really hard to figure it out if it makes you better or not,” Ginobili said. “It’s not going to hurt you, so we do it, to recover and stuff like that.”

It is not difficult to know one thing about the treatments.

“It is cold,” Ginobili said. “That’s for sure.”

Joseph back to Austin: Rookie point guard Cory Joseph was assigned to the Austin Toros, the Spurs’ NBA D-League team, for the third time this season.

Joseph has appeared in 27 of 43 Spurs games but has played only 204 minutes all season. Popovich has stressed that the greatest need for the team’s youngest player is to get playing time, which he is assured with the Toros.

Joseph’s Austin assignment heightened speculation the Spurs may be nearing a deal with point guard Patty Mills, a former Portland Trail Blazers player recently returned from playing in the Chinese Basketball Association.

Yahoo! on Tuesday reported that a deal the Spurs have offered Mills, an Australian national, is awaiting resolution of visa issues.

Easy adjustment: After starting 16 games at shooting guard, rookie Kawhi Leonard was shifted to the starting small forward spot after the trade that sent Richard Jefferson to the Golden State Warriors for Stephen Jackson.

The adjustment, Leonard said, was relatively simple.

“They’re very interchangeable (positions),” he said. “We pretty much do the same thing on the court. It just depends on what number they call to run the play for.”

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