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ARG - Frustrated Manu plays waiting game

SAN ANTONIO (NBA/Olympics) - Manu Ginobili has no other option but to master the skill of being patient these days.

The Argentina basketball icon broke the fifth metacarpal on his left hand in a recent defeat at Minnesota and needed surgery.

He should return to the court at the end of February or beginning of March.

"It's (the recovery) going well," Ginobili said, "just as planned.

"Twelve days have passed since the surgery and yesterday I had the stitches taken out.

"I'm slowly doing exercises, I'm feeling better, gaining mobility - but it has to heal.

"The estimated time of recovery is five to six weeks and it's been one and a half now so we need to be patient."

The injury could have come at a worse time, with Ginobili and the Spurs getting ready for the post-season or in the play-offs.

At least he will be back for a lot of regular season games, and will play at the Olympics in London.

And the Spurs have been able to survive without him, at least so far.

They have 10 wins and five defeats on the season and are first in the Southwest Division.

It's hard to look on the bright side, though.

"There's nothing positive about this injury and more so because of the five weeks out, especially with the season being short," Ginobili said.

"I would have preferred to be playing, gaining rhythm.

"If you have an injury that sees you miss three or four games, it's okay, but more than that it is a setback.

"You have to start with physical work, getting the rhythm, so it's not positive."

Argentina recently discovered they will take on the United States in a friendly before the Olympics.

Games against the United States, even warm-up games, are of great interest back home in Bahia Blanca.

"I found out a couple of days ago about that game," Ginobili said.

"It's just a friendly, nothing special.

"It's good to play against the best.

"We will play against Spain and Team USA, but at that time of preparation for the Olympics, we need to play against Spain, USA, Australia or any other team.

"It's good."