Kawhi Leonard wants to play this season, denies talk of friction with San Antonio Spurs
From NBA Twitter and media reports
The good news for the San Antonio Spurs? Kawhi Leonard plans to play again this season. The bad news for the San Antonio Spurs? He’s not sure when that will be.
One thing that is clear to Leonard is that he doesn’t feel there is friction between he and the team. ESPN reported earlier this season that how Leonard’s right quadriceps tendinopathy was being treated, rehabilitated and timelines for his return were creating a “chilling impact” on the star’s relationship with the Spurs.
Leonard has been sidelined all but nine games this season as he tries to recover from that quadriceps injury.
In meeting with reporters today, Leonard clarified that talk of discord with the team is not the case, writes Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News:
“Everything was done as a group,” Leonard said of him seeking second opinions. “I don’t feel like nothing was friction. I talk to Pop (Spurs coach Gregg Popovich) every day. He knows what the progression were. He knew what I was doing the whole entire time, as well as the front office. We made a group decision, so it was me just going out and saying, ‘I am going to go out and do this thing.’ ”
Asked if he would like to finish his career as a Spur, Leonard said. “Yeah. For sure.”
Leonard also said he hopes to get back on the court “soon,” although he doesn’t have a set date for his return. His last game was on Jan. 13.
“I just have to keep doing what I am doing,” Leonard said. “The progression that I am making has been great. I just have to keep doing what I am doing.”
When asked about the pain in his leg and whether it has diminished, Leonard said, “It’s diminishing. It’s hard to explain, but I am definitely better. Feel better and am feeling more comfortable.”
Asked if the pain in his leg has diminished, Kawhi said, "It’s diminishing. It’s
hard to explain, but I am definitely better. Feel better and am feeling more
— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) March 7, 2018
— Michael C. Wright (@mikecwright) March 7, 2018
Orsborn reports Leonard said he has been “doing some physical contact with some guys,” meaning Spurs personnel and not his teammates. Leonard is not planning to go on the Spurs’ three-game road trip that starts Thursday night against the Golden State Warriors (10:30 ET, TNT).
In late February, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was not optimistic about the return of star forward Kawhi Leonard. Shortly thereafter, Leonard was reportedly working out with the team and targeting a return to the lineup sometime this month.
Leonard has not played since Jan. 13 and has appeared in just nine games this season. At the All-Star break, the Spurs were 35-24 and held the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. Since then, they are 2-3 and have fallen to No. 6 in the West with 18 games left to play this season.