SPORTS

Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs to Have MRI on Injured Elbow Thursday

  • San Antonio Spurs' Manu Ginobili, of Argentina, is checked by the trainer after running into Phoenix Suns' Grant Hill during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 13, 2011, in Phoenix. Ginobili had to leave the game. (AP Photo/Matt York)

    San Antonio Spurs' Manu Ginobili, of Argentina, is checked by the trainer after running into Phoenix Suns' Grant Hill during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 13, 2011, in Phoenix. Ginobili had to leave the game. (AP Photo/Matt York)  (AP2011)

  • San Antonio Spurs' Manu Ginobili, of Argentina, is checked by the trainer after running into Phoenix Suns' Grant Hill during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 13, 2011, in Phoenix. Ginobili had to leave the game. (AP Photo/Matt York)

    San Antonio Spurs' Manu Ginobili, of Argentina, is checked by the trainer after running into Phoenix Suns' Grant Hill during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 13, 2011, in Phoenix. Ginobili had to leave the game. (AP Photo/Matt York)  (AP2011)

Manu Ginóbili suffered a critical injury at the worst possible time.

The Argentine guard hyperextended his elbow Wednesday during the San Antonio Spurs' season finale. The team lost to the Phoenix Suns, 106-103.

The Spurs finish as the first seed of the Western Conference, but lost an opportunity to clinch home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. The Spurs, at 61-21, finished a game behind Chicago for the best record in the NBA. And though Ginóbili's injury didn't appear to be serious, he is having an MRI on Thursday.

"Now," coach Gregg Popovich said, "the fun starts."

Popovich sat Ginóbili, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker in a loss to the Lakers in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, but all three were in the starting lineup Wednesday.

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"You can't predict anything and there's no reason to second guess and I don't think any one of us are going to do that," Duncan said. "Luckily, it's not serious and hopefully he can be ready to go once the playoff starts. You cross your fingers, you hope for that, and you move on."

The Spurs move on to a first-round playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies, a team that seemed to want to face San Antonio.

"They sat their guys for the last three or four games," Duncan said. "They're trying to stay where they're at. Obviously, they've chosen their matchup and want to stick with it."

Marcin Gortat had 21 points and 13 rebounds to help the Suns avoid being swept in the four-game regular season series.

Had San Antonio and the Bulls finished tied and faced each other in the NBA finals, home-court advantage would have been determined by a random drawing because all other tiebreakers were equal.

Ginóbili went down with 9:46 left in the first quarter. The star guard slid to the floor near the San Antonio free throw line, then the Suns' Grant Hill fell on top of him.

X-rays for a more serious injury were negative. An MRI was planned Thursday.

Ginóbili, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker sat out the Spurs' 102-93 loss to the Lakers in Los Angeles on Tuesday but all three were in the starting lineup against Phoenix. Duncan had 17 points and 12 rebounds in 31 minutes. Parker scored 12 points on 4-of-12 shooting in 25 minutes. Neither were on the court when the game ended.

"Tony's been under the weather. He got 25 minutes so I thought that was about enough for him," coach Gregg Popovich said. "We got Timmy about 30 so that was good. They needed to get a good run and they did so they could keep a rhythm. And then you like to win, but we didn't and that's the way it goes."

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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