San Antonio Spurs News

San Antonio Spurs: Kawhi Leonard cleared to return, choosing to sit out

By Rob Wolkenbrod
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JANUARY 13: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs looks on during the game against the Denver Nuggets on January 13, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JANUARY 13: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs looks on during the game against the Denver Nuggets on January 13, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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The San Antonio Spurs will remain without Kawhi Leonard for as long as he chooses, according to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

For all but nine games in the 2017-18 NBA season, the San Antonio Spurs have missed Kawhi Leonard, due to a mysterious quad injury that arose before the year started. There was a shoulder injury in between, but the quad ailment returned to the spotlight in January.

On Wednesday, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said he would be “surprised” if Leonard returned this season. With 23 games across two months and the playoffs remaining, it’s a short timetable for him to come back, especially given the uncertainty of the issue.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski released a report that accompanied this, as Leonard has the choice to return since the team cleared him, but only if he can deal with the quad “discomfort.” During the All-Star break, he had a second opinion on his quad in New York, with Spurs officials accompanying him.

Wojnarowski added, there’s a “palpable stress around the organization” over this season and Leonard’s impending free agency in 2019, due to the quad injury that “complicated” the player and team’s relationship.

The more reports that arise, the tenser this situation seems between the Spurs and Leonard. It may persist into the final 23 games, as the team continues to play without their star player. The frantic nature of the NBA offseason will not help this, either, with rumors flying and team adjustments to add players to find ways to satisfy the former NBA MVP candidate.

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It’s a rare, tense time in San Antonio, according to this report from Wojnarowski. Unless things get mended behind the scenes, as with LaMarcus Aldridge and the organization, it seems like a storyline that will continue into the offseason.

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