Manu Ginobili's Broken Nose: A Fan's Prognosis

Manu Ginobili catches a Dirk Nowitzki elbow to his (rather large) nose during Friday's San Antonio Spurs win over the Dallas Mavericks and all one Spurs fan can do is lay the entire thing open like flayed bat at a creepy Argentinian barbecue (where bats are served). 

Who needs doctors and trainers and other "professionals" when you have fans with real life experience to guide us through the mystical world of a problematic proboscis?

At SB Nation's Spurs blog Pounding the Rock, reader/fan/internet physician Wangalusa (what did you expect, Dr. Smith?) opines not only on Manu's potential medical complications but of course, also weighs in on how much of the Spurs playoff hopes rest on Manu's big schnoz, bald spot, wide shoulders.

I feel qualified to make that judgment because, in a strange coincidence, I got my nose broken several years ago in....yep, Argentina.  The cosmic significance of this has only further solidified my conviction that Manu and I are long-lost brothers or at least second cousins or something, but it's also made me a little worried about what effect his injury might have on Ginobili's production at a time when he's been playing his best and we badly need him for the playoffs. 

I think it's not an exaggeration to say that this year the Spurs will go only as far as Ginobili will take them in the post-season.  It's his team this year, in a way it hasn't been in the past.

Our fan expert goes on to spell out the potential playing problems that Manu will face resulting from his busted face.

1. Swelling.  This one is probably most controllable given the off day and the availability of the Spurs' very competent medical staff, armed with ice and ibuprofen, to take care of it.  But when I got my face busted for me it was a week before I could see properly as the swelling actually blocked part of my vision, resulting in a condition similar in effect (though not cause) to binasal hemianopsia, and my nose isn't nearly as big as Manu's.  The swelling and bruising in my case was not limited to the nose itself, but also both eyes and cheeks.  I looked like a pituitary raccoon.

2. In the immortal words of Clubber Lang, "Pain."  Not only the throbbing agony of having your nose broken, but the chance that it could get hit again and start bleeding and swelling at an inopportune time (and if you think the Mavs aren't keenly aware of this fact, I've got some prime oceanfront property you might be interested in).  Does he go with the Rip Hamilton Phantom of the Opera look?  How will that affect his shooting?  Even masked, the prospect of playing NBA playoff basketball in what I remember as a very frail and sore condition would make me very squirrely.

3. (not) Breathing.  What we've got here, folks, is a classic case of a deviated septum, in which all the little bones and cartilage in there get smashed up and their resulting displacement, along with the aforementioned swelling, can put a serious crimp on one's ability to breathe properly.  This is a real concern, and I can only imagine what effect it might have on a finely tuned athlete like an NBA basketball player.  If you couldn't get the amount of oxygen you're used to into your lungs, do you think your performance at tasks requiring, oh, say, your maximum cardiovascular effort simultaneous with complex tests of your fine motor skills, would suffer?

Of course, we are talking about a guy who regularly defies the laws of basketball gravity to slither through the lane and finish with some of the most awkwardly beautiful lay-ups this side of Steve Nash.

Manu returned to the game after a brief nasal readjustment to drop 11 points, three rebounds and an assist in the final period of play. Said Tim Duncan of his long-time slasher mate, "I had no doubts he'd be back. He's got a very strong nose on him."

And we have no doubt he will be back for Game 4 on Sunday. No one can keep Manu's nose down.

Before and after pictures of Manu's nose via Manu's twitter:


Can you see the difference? It's subtle but there.

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