San Antonio Spurs News

San Antonio Spurs: Kawhi Leonard will return ‘sooner rather than later’

By Rob Wolkenbrod
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 21: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs applauds from the bench in the third quarter against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on October 21, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 21: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs applauds from the bench in the third quarter against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on October 21, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich gave an update on Kawhi Leonard‘s status.

For all 13 games of the 2017-18 season, the San Antonio Spurs haven’t had Kawhi Leonard appear. He injured his quad before training camp and hasn’t played since, with no definitive timetable for a return.

Before Tuesday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich provided an update on his star player’s status. According to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News (h/t Bleacher Report), Popovich said, “He’s gonna be back sooner rather than later.”

This won’t be the timetable Spurs fans desire, but it sounds like somewhat positive words from the five-time champion coach. It’s more encouraging than him not talking about Leonard or refusing to answer questions.

Through the first 13 games, the offense has been turned over to LaMarcus Aldridge. He became the subject of trade talk in the offseason, but re-signed before the season started. His 23 points and 8 rebounds per game represent a revelation campaign, so far, channeling the numbers from the five-time All-Star’s Portland Trail Blazer days.

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As for Leonard’s lineup replacement, Kyle Anderson has started all 13 games. He’s averaging 8.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 50 percent shooting in 26.5 minutes. All represent career-highs for the fourth-year pro, which inevitably will decline, when Leonard returns from injury.

The Spurs haven’t fallen into a hole without the San Diego State product, entering Tuesday’s game at 8-5. A four-game winning streak and four-game losing streak have highlighted this stretch.

Whenever the Silver and Black get Leonard back, he’ll look to return to the MVP form that was seen in the 2016-17 season, and was expected from him in 2017-18. There were early calls for him to be this season’s MVP, but missing double-digit games may hurt his case.

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Either way, the Spurs could be one step closer to getting their prized player healthy and on the court. It will obviously go a long way toward this season’s success.

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