Kawhi Leonard To Sit Out Rest of NBA Season
“I’ll be surprised if he gets back this year.”
The Spurs’ small forward Kawhi Leonard has been out since January 13th and has only appeared in nine games this season. Leonard has become one of the NBA’s most dominant players and was expected to be an MVP front-runner this season–before his injury. The 26-year-old forward is a two-time first-team All-NBA selection and a two-time defensive player of the year, and he also won the NBA Finals MVP back in 2014 in the Spurs and Miami Heat series.
However, Gregg Popovich does not sound at all optimistic about his star forward’s return for the stretch run. When asked about Leonard’s return, he stated, “I’d be surprised if he returns this season. We only have X number of games left in the season and he’s still not ready to go.”
Popovich went onto say, “If by some chance he is it’s going to be pretty late into the season and it’ll be a tough decision how late you bring somebody back. That’s why I’m trying to be honest and logical. I’ll be surprised if he gets back this year.”
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski announced Leonard has been medically cleared to return from his right quadriceps tendinopathy. Wojnarowski also reports the Spurs left it up to Leonard to decide when to return and he has chosen not to.
According to league sources, Leonard’s injury, rehabilitation, and timetable for a return have complicated his relationship with the Spurs. This whole dilemma has been causing tension and “fraying the fabric of what was once a strong partnership.”
Although the Spurs are missing Leonard from their active roster, they remain 35-24 and currently hold the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.