SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili says he needs arthroscopic surgery to repair a ligament injury in his left ankle.

"They're going to operate on me," the 31-year-old told Argentina's La Nacion newspaper Friday.

Ginobili, who helped lead Argentina to a bronze medal in the Beijing Olympics, said an MRI of the injury showed no improvement from a previous exam.

"It's the same as it was two months ago, when they did the first exam," he said. "It's not worse, which is important. Now, the thing is, it's not better either, and it seems like the only way to repair it completely is arthroscopic surgery."

Ginobili will have surgery next week in Los Angeles, said a person close to Ginobili who wanted to remain anonymous because the Spurs have not yet announced the surgery.

A Spurs spokesman told The Associated Press the team has no comment.

The injury hobbled Ginobili during the NBA playoffs, particularly during the Western Conference finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, when his signature explosiveness was visibly absent. Ginobili led the Spurs in scoring last season and won the league's sixth man award.

At the end of the season in late May, Ginobili had an injection in the ankle and said he expected it to improve quickly. Ginobili wore a walking boot for several weeks starting in June after an MRI showed a ligament to be five times the size of the one in his other foot.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich had urged Ginobili not to compete in the Olympics unless the injury improved. He not only competed in the games, but also carried the flag for Argentina in the opening ceremonies in Beijing.

During Argentina's semifinal game against eventual gold-medal winner United States, Ginobili hobbled off the court during the first quarter after apparently aggravating the injury. He did not play in Argentina's bronze-medal win over Lithuania.

"Aside from this situation, I'm comfortable with the situation," he said. "My plan was to be part of the Olympic games, and I knew that if I suffered from pain they would have to operate. This isn't something that took me by surprise."