Spurs coach Gregg Popovich puts Manu Ginobili’s timetable to return from a strained right hamstring at weeks rather than days, a significant setback to the team’s pre-playoff preparation.

“It’s a huge blow for us,” he said, “because he’s the guy that allows our second team to do what they’ve been doing all year long.

“It’s a huge loss for that group, and in game situations it’s a tough one because he’s one of two guys, he and Tony (Parker), are the creators who make things happen for everybody else on the court. It’s an unfortunate loss at this point of the season.”

Popovich said it is unknown if Ginobili’s injury will stretch into the postseason, which begins on April 20. Excluding Sunday’s home game against Miami, the Spurs have nine games remaining in the regular season, with the last coming on April 17 against Minnesota.

“We don’t know how his leg is going to react,” he said. “We’re doing everything we can.”

Ginobili, 35, was injured in the first quarter of Friday’s victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. He’s missed 13 games this season with a variety of ailments, including a strain in his other hamstring. The Spurs are 9-2 without him.

Ginobili is averaging 11.9 points, 4.6 assists and 3.4 rebounds in his 11th NBA season. As Popovich noted, his production and experience has been a key factor for the reserves. His injury comes at a point the Spurs’ bench has been outscored in seven of the past eight games.

Ginobili has been struggling in recent weeks, however, shooting just 31.6 percent over the past 10 games.