Don’t expect San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich to look to Tony Parker for Kawhi Leonard’s return timetable.
For the first 19 games of the season, the San Antonio Spurs were without Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard. As of Monday night, Parker returned but Leonard remained out. Both suffered from quad injuries, although it’s unknown when the latter man suffered his.
Before stepping onto the court, the returning 35-year-old made an interesting proclamation about the Claw’s potential comeback. He said Leonard is “close” to normal and gave his own “couple of weeks” timetable.
When finding out about this, head coach Gregg Popovich brushed off “Dr. Parker.” He didn’t indicate whether this was true but alluded to not trusting Parker’s official diagnosis, according to ESPN’s Michael C. Wright.
“Is that Dr. Parker?”
“I’m probably not going to consult Tony on when Kawhi is going to come back,” Popovich said. “It’s just me. Maybe I’m being shortsighted, but I’m probably not gonna go there.”
That’s probably fair, as Parker isn’t exactly a team trainer or someone with public medical knowledge. Popovich will probably wait for his longtime point guard to attend medical school before listening to his opinion.
The Spurs haven’t had Leonard available for the training camp, preseason and the first 20 games of the season, due to the previously-noted injury. His last appearance came in Game 1 of the 2017 Western Conference Finals, injuring his ankle on a controversial closeout from Golden State Warriors center Zaza Pachulia. It was a series-ending ailment, which the Silver and Black were eventually swept in, 4-0.
Whenever San Antonio gets the two-time All-Star back, he’ll step into the starting lineup and attempt to repeat his MVP-caliber numbers of 2016-17. It may be too late to win this award in 2017-18, but he can make enough of an impact to boost the team’s standing in the Western Conference. Let’s just see how soon — or far away — this is.