Spurs Kawhi Leonard Likely out for the Season


The San Antonio Spurs are allowing Kawhi Leonard to make the decision on whether or not he plays this season.

Leonard returned to play nine of the next 17 games, sitting out eight games as part of a scheduled "return from injury management".

While recovering from right quadriceps tendinopathy, Leonard told the organization several times during his rehabilitation process he was not comfortable with his ability to play through the injury.

But it's especially interesting because earlier in the day, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich would voice his doubt over Kawhi returning this season. "I'll be surprised if he's back this year". The Heat said that Bosh's season and likely career were over, but Bosh hired his own set of doctors for a second opinion and tried to get cleared by seeking outside treatment.

The Spurs still find themselves in third place in the tough Western Conference thanks in large part to the elevated play of LaMarcus Aldridge. However, if Utah were to get the sixth seed and the top three teams stay as they are now, they would face off in the first round against the Spurs instead.

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Last month, General Manager R.C. Buford spoke to Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News about what the Spurs were missing with Gay's absence on the court. Leonard, a former two-time Defensive Player of the Year and one-time NBA Finals MVP, played a grand total of nine games in the season, the last one against the Denver Nuggets on January 13. After their impressive 129-81 win over the Phoenix Suns, the Spurs are now on a three-game losing streak on their Rodeo Road Trip.

When asked if the Spurs were ready to announce Leonard is done for the season, Popovich responded "I'm ready to say what I just said".

"You know, with Kawhi, I'll be surprised if he returns this season".

The Spurs won that game without him and then closed out the Rockets while he rested during Game 6 in Houston. "I had never seen it before those guys". In the aftermath of Tim Duncan's retirement, the Spurs anointed Leonard as the new face of the franchise. The refute didn't stop one National Basketball Association analyst from reporting that Leonard "wants out" of San Antonio, though.