Kawhi Leonard appears to be just days away from making his long-anticipated return from a quadriceps injury that has kept him out much longer than he expected it to.
On Monday, Leonard spoke with reporters for the first time since September. He did not say specifically when he will be back on the court for an actual game, but Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News reports that the Spurs coaching staff discussed the possibility of having Leonard play in Monday night’s game against the Detroit Pistons. It was ultimately decided that a few extra days of rest could benefit the two-time All-Star, so Friday night’s home game against the Boston Celtics could be when we finally see Leonard.
Leonard has been dealing with what the Spurs described as right quadriceps tendinopathy. The injury was announced in September and was expected to force the 26-year-old to miss a few weeks at most, yet here we are. Leonard said it was frustrating to not be able to play Monday, but he complimented the job his teammates have done in going 16-8 during his absence.
“Me not being able to play the game was a little frustrating, but my team’s doing a great job holding their own,” he said. “A lot of people stepped up in the process and it’s going to be great for us in the long run.”
If you’ve heard some of the things Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has said about Leonard’s injury, it’s clear the recovery took a lot longer than expected. Fortunately, Leonard dealt with the injury at the start of the season and not the end. Rushing him back has never made sense given the circumstances. Hopefully that patience will be rewarded and Leonard remains 100 percent healthy from here on out.