San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard left for rehab elsewhere and does not have a timetable to return.
The San Antonio Spurs have played without Kawhi Leonard for all but nine games this season. Despite that, they remain in the playoff hunt and might be a few wins away from securing a postseason seed. However, controversy accompanied this with reports of the San Diego State product’s fractured relationship with the organization. Players spoke out on the injury, too, including Tony Parker’s “100 times worse” comment.
Well, this story took another turn Saturday. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Michael C. Wright, Leonard returned to New York on Monday, to continue injury rehab with outside medical personnel; team staff members joined him. There’s no timetable for him to return to San Antonio.
To no surprise, there’s little optimism on Leonard’s potential return this season, as six games remain before the playoffs.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 31, 2018
Leonard joined the Spurs at the end of February, but as Wojnarowski noted, the Spurs star increased his workouts but decided he was not ready to return. There were expectations of a March comeback, something that will obviously not happen.
This did not include new information on “discontent” or “communication issues” between the two sides. However, Wojnarowski included comments from Manu Ginobili about being an “alien to the core group” and fighting through it, and head coach Gregg Popovich’s words on keeping an injured player engaged:
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“It’s the same as a player who is the 13th man sitting on the end of the bench,” Popovich said. “The more you’re participating, the more you feel like you’re a part of the deal. But anybody who’s injured, sitting on the bench or not playing, feels a little bit different, of course. That’s just human nature. “He’s a nice guy. I love the kid. What am I gonna do? Sometimes he wants to rehab in the room, getting stronger; use the time wisely instead of watching us out there.”
Whatever the case may be, it’s impossible to expect Leonard to return this season. If the team does not trade him in the offseason, which fans can expect rampant speculation on, then all eyes will be on the first day of the 2018-19 campaign. That’s seven months away and plenty can happen. Even if it’s another heart-to-heart talk between Popovich and a top player.
#Spurs fans, when do you think Kawhi Leonard will return to the team?
— Air Alamo (@AirAlamo) March 31, 2018
Let’s see where this saga trends toward next.