Ginobili expects injured ankle to be OK in time for Summer Olympics

SAN ANTONIO -- Spurs star Manu Ginobili expects his injured ankle to be healed for the Beijing Olympics, allowing him to play for defending champion Argentina.

"It's something that I am looking forward to," he said Saturday.

Practices don't begin until early July, meaning Ginobili will have more than a month for his ankle recover. The Olympics are Aug. 8-24.

"Yesterday I got an injection to get the swelling off of the joint, and they told me that in a week, 10 days I'll be totally fine," Ginobili said. "So I trust them and I think I'm going to be perfectly healed."

Ginobili hurt his left ankle early in the playoffs and it hampered him in the Western Conference finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. After averaging 18.2 and 21.3 points in the first two series against Phoenix and New Orleans, Ginobili's output fell to 12.6 points.

The Spurs, the defending champions, were ousted by the Lakers in Game 5 on Thursday night.

Ginobili, winner of the Sixth Man Award, was the Spurs' leading scorer during the regular season, averaging 19.5 points.

"He's got to heal and he's going to have that time," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "We started that process today with Manu and he'll be off of his ankle for the next four to five weeks. Obviously we couldn't do that during the playoffs -- would have been great if we could have."

Popovich expects the smooth-shooting guard to play for the Argentine team.

"And that's probably a good thing because these guys play in the summertime anyway and the more organized you can be, probably the less chance you have of getting an injury," he said.

Argentina beat Italy 84-69 in 2004 in Athens for the gold. Ginobili had 16 points and six assists in that game. Ginobili sat out last summer's qualifying tournament in which Argentina lost to the United States in the gold-medal game.