Spurs Targeting Thursday Return for Kawhi Leonard

15 March, 2018, 06:01 | Author: Anita Tucker
  • San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green right stands at the bench with injured teammates Kawhi Leonard second from left and Rudy Gay center during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers Sunday Jan. 21 2018 in San Antoni

Leonard stepped away from playing to focus on rehabbing the injured quad after a nine-game return to the Spurs that ended on January 13. While earlier reports would suggest a Thursday return, that now appears to be off the table.

"I'm just competing", he said in a post-game interview on ABC.

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"I'll see Kawhi tomorrow and we'll see how he's feeling and see how ready he is and see how ready I think he is, and we will go from there", Gregg Popovich.

Leonard, who received first-team All-NBA honors the previous two seasons, resumed working out in San Antonio on February 27. He plans to continue evaluating the quadriceps injury for a hopeful return.

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Leonard said he has been riding a stationary bike and participating in 3-on-3 drills to simulate the physical contact of games, but he has done so with Spurs staff members, not teammates. Leonard and Popovich touched base again Tuesday; the two have remained in daily contact, with the forward inching closer to a possible return. If the best-case scenario is Saturday vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves, it leaves San Antonio with just 13 games to get him into the rotation and fight back in the playoff hunt. They have a winning record, as they now sit at 37-30, but are in 10th place in the very competitive Western Conference. The team fell to 10th in the Western Conference following Tuesday's loss to the Rockets.

Leonard, the 2014 Finals MVP and two-time Defensive Player of the Year, was first revealed to be injured in training camp. "I don't hear. I don't worry about reports", Popovich said at the time. He didn't make his debut until December 13, and played for a month before he was shut down again.

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The 31-year-old is averaging 12.7 points (the lowest mark since his rookie season), 3.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.2 steals this season. If Leonard returns on Thursday, he will have 14 games to save the Spurs sputtering season.

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