The San Antonio Spurs reportedly held a players-only meeting to ‘implore’ forward Kawhi Leonard to return to the lineup from his injury.
Adrian Wojnarowski said the former NBA Finals MVP was insisted he had “good reason” for sitting out but players did not seem satisfied (via ESPN):
“The conversation was described as tense and emotional at times, league sources said. Several teammates spoke up, expressing frustration and confusion over a growing divide with Leonard that has created significant tension between the franchise star and the Spurs, league sources said.”
Leonard, 26, has played just nine games so far this season. While he did briefly return to San Antonio, he has been held out since January 13. He appeared in just three games since January 1.
A different from Jabari Young indicated that Leonard was surprised by the conversation (via MySanAntonio.com):
“According to sources, Leonard, who was caught off guard by the meeting, stood his ground. He spoke up telling those that inquired about his status that when he is healthy enough, a return was still the goal. But Leonard offered no set date or guarantee about a return this season. Leonard did receive support from some teammates, urging him not to return until he feels healthy enough.”
This report comes just days after team veteran Manu Ginobili said he does not think that Leonard will return this season.
Patty Mills also suggested “nothing has changed” while head coach Gregg Popovich has not put a timetable on a return.
Danny Green, who has played for the team since 2010, denied the report from Wojnarowski.
San Antonio is currently the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference but the Denver Nuggets, who would not make the postseason if they began today, are only three games out from catching the Spurs.