Somehow, some way, the situation in San Antonio regarding Kawhi Leonard and his health has gotten even weirder.
Leonard has been sitting out the majority of the season for the Spurs with a right quad injury that has severely hampered the Spurs’ success this season. Without their All-Star forward, the Spurs ran a real risk of missing the postseason for the first time in 20 years, and can still mathematically miss the playoffs if things don’t go their way in the last few games, even if they do currently sit fourth in the West.
Many predicted that Leonard would return to the team over their important final stretch of games to get his legs underneath him before the playoffs arrived, but his rumored return date — a game against the New Orleans Pelicans — arrived and passed, and Kawhi was nowhere to be seen.
It’s now being reported that Leonard has been in New York for the past week doing further rehab work on his quad with his own medical team — AKA not affiliated with the Spurs organization — and has been spending time using the National Basketball Players Association headquarters gymnasium facilities in New York to stay in game shape.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was asked about the chances of Kawhi returning to the team before the end of the season, and his response did nothing to instill confidence in Spurs’ fans, and may have actually been a subtle jab at Kawhi and his team.
Pop said there has been no word from Kawhi and his "group" in New York about his status: "I don’t know when he and his group are going to feel like they are ready to go. If I knew, he’d be here. When he and his group feel he’s ready, then he’ll be ready." #Spurs
— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) April 1, 2018
San Antonio’s medical team have already cleared Kawhi to return to the team, so like Pop says, it is literally up to Leonard’s camp to decide when the 2014 Finals MVP will pull on a Spurs jersey again.
Whether there is more to this story other than a lingering injury, that’s a different story all together.