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San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard going through 'last steps' in rehab process

From NBA media reports

It sounds like ‘sooner rather than later’ has turned to ‘the last steps’ in terms of Kawhi Leonard’s return to the basketball court.

All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard, who has been sidelined all season while rehabbing from a quadriceps injury, accompanied the Spurs on their two-game road swing that opens tonight in Memphis (8 ET on NBA League Pass).

Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News provides more:

Leonard has played two sessions of 5-on-5, going both halfcourt and full. At shootaround this morning at the FedEx Forum, Leonard practiced with the full team for the first time, Popovich said.

“Those are the last steps,” Popovich said. “That’s what Tony (Parker) did before he came back.”

Once Leonard feels well enough to play, the final hurdle will be in lobbying his coach. It took Parker two weeks from the time he felt good enough to go for Popovich to put him on the floor.

“When he says, ‘I feel I can go,’ then he’s got to convince me,” Popovich said. “Because I’m going to err on the conservative side. We’ll see. He’s too valuable to bring back early.”

When Leonard returns to the lineup is still uncertain. The Spurs play at Oklahoma City on Sunday before heading home Monday to face Detroit. Despite not having Leonard, San Antonio has gone 14-7 this season.

Last season, Leonard, who finished third in MVP voting, averaged 25.5 points and 5.8 rebounds.