San Antonio Spurs News

San Antonio Spurs: Kawhi Leonard reportedly will not return Thursday

By Rob Wolkenbrod
DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 30: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Detroit Pistons on December 30, 2017 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. 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 2017 NBAE (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 30: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Detroit Pistons on December 30, 2017 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. 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 2017 NBAE (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Any optimism about Kawhi Leonard’s chances to suit up for the San Antonio Spurs Thursday just went out the window.

Kawhi Leonard was expected to return for the San Antonio Spurs Thursday, with a game vs. the New Orleans Pelicans set. He has missed all but nine games in the 2017-18 season, mostly due to a mysterious quadriceps injury that arose before the preseason.

Well, Leonard’s comeback trail will not happen as soon as expected. According to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, the Spurs star will be ruled out of Thursday’s game vs. New Orleans. There’s still hope for a return, and he will continue to evaluate the quad injury.

Sources: San Antonio star Kawhi Leonard is expected to remain out through Thursday’s game against New Orleans. He plans to continue evaluating the quadriceps injury for a hopeful return.

— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 13, 2018

That means at least two more games without Leonard, who will miss Tuesday’s matchup vs. the Orlando Magic. If the best-case scenario is Saturday vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves, it leaves San Antonio with just 13 games to get him into the rotation and fight back in the playoff hunt. Two more losses, to the Magic and Timberwolves, would make this difficult but not impossible for the Spurs to pull off. With a tight race in the West, though, it’s possible someone breaks out and leaves the team from the Alamo City in the dust.

If the Spurs choose to shut Leonard down for the rest of the season, playoff hopes will continue to dwindle, especially if the team continues to lose games with LaMarcus Aldridge and a healthy rotation available. They have not fared well against playoff teams in the second half, so it could be an indication of what’s to come without Leonard and the play of teams, like the Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers and Pelicans.

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All hope can’t be lost — yet. Tuesday’s matchup will go a long way toward the Spurs’ pursuit of a playoff spot. The same for the Pelicans game. Can they survive?

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