After all the reported drama between the San Antonio Spurs and Kawhi Leonard, it looks like a return might happen before the season ends.
On Monday evening, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Michael C. Wright reported that Kawhi Leonard returned to the San Antonio Spurs’ practice facility this week and hopes for a comeback in March. He returned to San Antonio after three weeks in New York, which was spent seeking outside opinions on his long-injured quadriceps.
The goal for Leonard, is to advance toward five-on-five drills in the “near future.” It will not be his first practice since being ruled out indefinitely, however, as the 26-year old worked out at the National Basketball Players Association headquarters gymnasium.
It’s a swerve from everything that Wojnarowski reported this past week. This included the “tremendous disconnect” between the Spurs and Leonard, which followed head coach Gregg Popovich’s comments about being “surprised” if his star player returned this season.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 26, 2018
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What happened between then and now? For speculation, maybe Leonard’s outside doctor told him he could play on the quad and handle the pain, rather than not, which was initially the thought. It was a full three weeks away from the organization, too, so who knows what happened. However, the Spurs did send officials to New York with him.
If Leonard returns in March, it will cut close to the playoffs, which begin in the middle of April. Only 21 games remain, as of Feb. 26, too, so, theoretically, he may be back for just a dozen games. It could even be fewer than that, depending on how quick this rehab at the team facility progresses.
There’s always the chance San Antonio shuts down Leonard, as well. Although if he’s at the practice facility now, it’s difficult to think the team would do so, pending something changes.
Having Leonard for the playoffs gives the Silver and Black their former MVP candidate back, and a difference maker on both ends of the floor. It could go a long way against the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets, two teams the Spurs struggled with this season, and the squads that are at the top of the Western Conference.
More on this as it develops.