Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said the sixth-year player out of Argentina would be dressed, and the 6-foot-6 guard went through warmups in anticipation of his first game action since the Summer Olympics.
Ginobili, the Spurs leading scorer last year with a 19.5 average, missed the preseason and San Antonio's first 12 games while rehabilitating from offseason surgery on his left ankle.
He was injured early in Argentina's semifinal loss to the United States at the Beijing Games.
Ginobili confirmed that Popovich would limit his minutes against the Grizzlies.
"I would say five or 10, 15 tops," Ginobili said.
He said the decision to return Monday night was based on a program set up by his surgeon.
"I started one-on-one, then two-on-two and three-on-three," Ginobili said after working on his 3-point shot before the game. "He told me once I got through two or three practices with scrimmages and everything, I was ready if the joint didn't swell.
"That's what we did. It felt good, so it's now just a matter of getting my wind back, my conditioning and feel for the game."