The San Antonio Spurs announced on Wednesday that Kawhi Leonard will be out indefinitely as the rehabilitation process for his quad injury continues.
Injuries have been the Achilles heel of the San Antonio Spurs this season. Many players, including Tony Parker, Danny Green, and Rudy Gay have missed a significant amount of games this year. While the Spurs’ depth means they are better at coping with these absences than most teams, the loss of Kawhi Leonard is still a heavy blow.
Leonard missed two months at the beginning of this season with the same quad injury, and sat out a further 3 games with a partial shoulder tear. Despite this, there seemed to be optimism that perhaps the injuries were behind him up until Wednesday’s announcement that Leonard
In a public statement, Spurs General Manager RC Buford said, “Kawhi has made significant progress and continues to move forward in his rehabilitation. This is the best approach for the next steps in his return to play.”
Kawhi Leonard Update: pic.twitter.com/2jb5svTAR2
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) January 17, 2018
While it’s good to hear that he has made “significant progress,” it is concerning that this injury is still not resolved. Leonard has played just nine games so far this season, and though he’s been decent, he hasn’t played like the MVP candidate from last year.
On a positive note, the Spurs have gone 29-16 so far in this mostly Kawhi-less season, and it’s likely that they will still finish in the top few seeds of the Western Conference even if he does miss another significant chunk of time. In addition, Leonard’s absence gives more time for younger players, like Bryn Forbes and Kyle Anderson, to get the playing time that is crucial for their development.
Even though the Spurs have done reasonably well thus far without their star player, his absence makes it difficult for them to contend with the top teams in this league. So far this year, they have been unable to beat the Rockets or Warriors. However, if the Spurs truly want to make any kind of championship run this year, a healthy Leonard is a must.