Gregg Popovich says he'd be surprised if Kawhi Leonard returns this season

Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich doesn't expect superstar Kawhi Leonard back in action this season.

The team's medical staff had actually cleared Leonard to return prior to his December 12 season debut at Dallas, according to sources, who said the forward bears the burden of determining when he's prepared to play again.

According to Wojnarowski's sources, Leonard does not want to return.

However, Popovich stressed that Leonard had not suffered an aggravation of the injury, which had caused him to miss the entire pre-season and insisted the franchise would not rush the player back.

The Golden State Warriors won in 2015 and 2017 - beating the Cavs both times - and the San Antonio Spurs won in 2014.

Leonard's injury was initially disclosed by the Spurs on September 30, saying he would miss the entire preseason because of right quadriceps tendinopathy. Spurs officials are clearly starting to prepare his teammates for the possibility that they'll have to enter the playoffs without Leonard. "I'll be surprised if he's back this year".

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The Spurs will continue their season without Leonard on Friday, with a game vs. the Denver Nuggets.

"We've got to move on", Popovich added, per Wright. "We only have x number of games left this season and he's still not ready to go". And if by some chance he is, it's going to be pretty late in the season, and it'll be a tough decision, how late you can bring somebody back.

Popovich did not say the team was officially ruling the two-time National Basketball Association defensive player of the year out for the remainder of the season.

Popovich has said there is no merit to the rumors, but the situation has been frustrating for both Leonard and the team.

If that were to hold true, according to FiveThirtyEight, the Jazz would then play the Minnesota Timberwolves, who are projected to slip past the San Antonio Spurs for the third seed by one game, in the first round of the playoffs.

It's turned into a messy situation for the former Finals MVP and the team and we surely haven't heard the last of this mysterious saga. The Heat said that Bosh's season and likely career were over, but Bosh hired his own set of doctors for a second opinion and tried to get cleared by seeking outside treatment. We're a team. People have stepped up.

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