Normally, news that your star player has been cleared to return from injury is cause for celebration. But in the case of Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs, it’s rather unsettling—because despite the thumbs up to get back on the hardwood, Leonard is presently choosing not to play.
The two-time Defensive Player of the Year recently spent 10 days in New York getting a second opinion from a specialist regarding his injured right quad, which has been baffling the team all season, limiting him to just nine games.
Head coach Gregg Popovich told reporters on Wednesday that he doesn’t even think Leonard will play again this season.
“We only have X number of games left in the season, and he’s still not ready to go,” Popovich said. “If by some chance he is, it’s gonna be pretty late into the season; and it’s going to be a pretty tough decision—how late to bring somebody back. So that’s why I’m just trying to be honest and logical. I’ll be surprised if he gets back this year.”
Here is the Popovich comments on Kawhi. Not ready to say he’s out for the season…just would be surprised. So, there’s that … pic.twitter.com/C22ntHgbOY
— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) February 21, 2018
The same day, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported: “If Leonard returns, it will be because he has decided he can manage the discomfort of the injury, according to the sources.”
A month ago, Woj reported that the very un-Spursy stalemate between Leonard and the team had led to “discord,” having a “chilling impact” on the relationship.
Which is not what Spurs fans want to hear with Leonard scheduled to hit free agency 16 months.