SAN ANTONIO — Spurs guard Manu Ginobili will have surgery on his broken left hand and is expected to be out at least two months after his latest injury.
Ginobili tweeted Wednesday that he'll have a plate screwed onto his shooting hand Thursday. He broke his fifth metacarpal, below his pinkie, during the second quarter of a loss at Minnesota on Monday night.
"Not thrilled," Ginobili tweeted.
Ginobili was averaging 17.4 points a game, and San Antonio won't easily make up for losing its leading scorer who has overtaken Tim Duncan as the emotional and offensive centerpiece of the four-time champion Spurs.
Last season, after the 34-year-old sprained his elbow on the eve of the playoffs, Ginobili struggled through the first round wearing a bulky sleeve as Memphis upset the 61-win Spurs. Three years ago, Ginobili missed the postseason entirely with a bad ankle.
Although San Antonio's supporting cast this season is among the youngest of the Duncan era, the fate and fortunes of the Spurs still squarely rest with Ginobili, Tony Parker and Duncan, who will turn 36 in April and might be playing his final season.
Ginobili injured his hand in the season's fifth game when he fouled Anthony Tolliver as he jumped to shoot the ball.
"Six to eight weeks is the most common things that's been thrown around, so I assume that's what it is unless the docs figure out differently tomorrow," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
The Spurs host Golden State on Wednesday night.
Ginobili's injury is forcing the Spurs to put backup Gary Neal in uniform ahead of schedule after the second-year shooting guard had his appendix removed during training camp. Popovich said Neal would have certainly first played a few D-League games otherwise, but that's a luxury the Spurs can no longer afford.
"We figured we might as well go ahead and throw him in to the fire," Popovich said.