The San Antonio Spurs will not bring Kawhi Leonard back vs. the New Orleans Pelicans, despite the previous speculation.
There was speculation that the San Antonio Spurs would bring Kawhi Leonard back Thursday, vs. the New Orleans Pelicans. However, a report followed that Leonard would not return for this game. He has not played since Jan. 13 due to a quad injury that’s hampered him since last fall.
It was a matter of time before the Spurs confirmed Leonard’s status for Thursday, which they did hours before. The team’s star will not suit up vs. the Pelicans, and no one else was featured on the injury report.
Kawhi Leonard (return from injury management) is out for tonight’s Spurs-Pelicans game. pic.twitter.com/ac84CaA4oQ
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) March 15, 2018
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There’s no official word on when Leonard’s return will happen. There’s only so much regular-season time left, too, which could thwart this, especially as San Antonio sits on the outside of the playoff picture. Continued losses may push the coaching staff to leave him out and proceed with what’s in place, with a full-length recovery in the offseason.
Of course, for the Spurs, having Leonard back would change things. He’s a difference-maker at both ends of the court, as he can lead the team in scoring on any night and defend the opponent’s best player. That comes in handy vs. the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors, but San Antonio only had Leonard available for one Rockets game this season, for just 16 minutes, in a 15-point defeat.
If the Spurs get the “Klaw” back before the season ends and reach the playoffs as the No. 7 or 8 seed, that sets up an intriguing matchup against the Rockets or Warriors. Could the Silver and Black test either team in this potentially-balanced series?
That’s a long-term and “what-if” situation, however. Leonard will not play Thursday, and if the Spurs continue to lose games now, there’s no chance at seeing how a playoff series could be against the Western Conference’s best squads.