By Mike Monroe
A brace on his right arm limiting full extension of his sprained right elbow, Spurs guard Manu Ginobili was on the court at the close of the Spurs practice session on Saturday, working on his shot.
It was enough to encourage teammates. Some now believe he will suit up for today’s playoff game at ATT Center against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Though his status for Game 1 of the Western Conference first-round series hasn’t changed — head coach Gregg Popovich reiterated that his team’s No. 2 scorer remains doubtful — Ginobili has participated in preparations to make sure he is ready if he is cleared.
“He’s been practicing, doing the script,” said starting forward Richard Jefferson. “We haven’t gone full contact the last couple of days. For the most part, he’s been scripting and doing everything else and working out.”
Only the team’s medical staff and coaches will have final say on Ginobili’s availability, but point guard Tony Parker said Ginobili sitting out the game was inconceivable.
“To me,” Parker said, “it’s almost impossible that he’s not going to play.”
DEAR TIM: Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins had a simple message Saturday for Spurs captain Tim Duncan: We did not “tank” the last two games of the regular season so we could play the Spurs.
A victory in their season finale against the Clippers would have put the Grizzlies in the No. 7 seed in the Western playoffs, against the Lakers.
Duncan on Wednesday night told Express-News beat writer Jeff McDonald he believed the Grizzlies had chosen the Spurs as a first-round opponent by sitting leading scorer and rebounder Zach Randolph and starting forward Tony Allen in the final two games.
After running his team through a practice session at the ATT Center, Hollins looked straight into the TV cameras videotaping an interview and directed remarks to Duncan.
“I just want to say this for Tim Duncan: We did not tank the season so we can get the San Antonio Spurs,” Hollins said. “In fact, my thought process had nothing to do with the San Antonio Spurs. It had to do with us being healthy coming into this series, whatever series it was going to be. I was only concerned about our health.”
MEMPHIS CONNECTIONS: Spurs guard George Hill and Memphis guard Mike Conley grew up as friends and adversaries in Indianapolis. Hill starred at Broad Ripple High School.
Conley, two years Hill’s junior, played at Lawrence North High.
Spurs center DeJuan Blair and Memphis small forward Sam Young played two college seasons together at Pittsburgh from 2007 to 2009.
Staff writer Jeff McDonald contributed to this report.