Fighting through an ankle injury, San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard sat out much of the fourth quarter and didn't take the court for overtime of his team's 110-107 win over the Houston Rockets, but he insisted he'll play Thursday in Game 6. "Yeah, I'm going to be able to play," Leonard said. "It was frustrating because I wanted to play. But I was happy seeing my teammates out there putting in a good effort and getting the win."
Manu Ginobili replaced Leonard in the lineup with 4:57 to play, but Leonard re-entered the game with 2:59 remaining. Leonard left for good with 34.5 seconds remaining in regulation. "It was tough when we saw Kawhi kind of limping," Ginobili said. "We knew it was going to be a tough one. But they had it tough, too, and they're missing Nene, too. We really hustled down the stretch and made some good plays."
Manu Ginobili said he didn't even want to imagine his team having to play without Leonard in Game 6. He said he feared the injury was bad because Leonard was out down the stretch in such a critical game. But Leonard said he will definitely be on the court Thursday.
Kawhi Leonard rolled his ankle during Game 5 of the Spurs-Rockets series. Initially, the roll was so bad it appeared that he was going to be forced to come out of the game. However, because it's such an important game Leonard did his best to play through the injury. For the majority of the game he managed to do so, but he was forced to sit out the final play of regulation.
Chris Mannix: Gregg Popovich says he doesn't know Kawhi Leonard's status moving forward. Says it was obvious he couldn't go in overtime.
Kawhi Leonard (concussion protocol) is questionable for tomorrow night's Spurs-Hawks game. LaMarcus Aldridge, Dejounte Murray (left groin) and Tony Parker (back stiffness) remain out.
Popovich also said he was hopeful Leonard could return against Atlanta. “He is just moving through the protocol,” Popovich said. “We expect he will be fine, but it just takes awhile. The next possible game is Monday and we hope he will be ready for that.”
Popovich said Leonard is at “step two or three.” “They will tell me when he is ready,” Popovich said. “But he is doing fine so far.” Leonard was in the Spurs locker room before Saturday’s game. Asked by teammate Danny Green how he was doing, Leonard said, “I’m fine.”
Michael C. Wright: Pop said he's "hopeful" Kawhi Leonard can go on Monday. Said he's progressing through the protocol. Said he's on step 2 or 3.
The San Antonio Spurs today announced that forward Kawhi Leonard has entered the NBA’s Concussion Protocol. Leonard, who was hit in the head in last night’s Spurs-Thunder game, will not play in tomorrow night’s Spurs-Warriors contest. The team will provide updates on his return to the court as appropriate.
Jeff McDonald: Spurs confirming Leonard got hit in the head. They don't think he suffered a concussion. We'll update after Pop talks.
Royce Young: Pop said Kawhi got hit in the face/mouth/cheek and the trainer thought he should sit. No additional update as to his status.
Jeff McDonald: Spurs listing Jonathon Simmons as the starter at SF in place of injured Kawhi Leonard. Dewayne Dedmon remains the starter at center.
Melissa Rohlin: Parker (foot) is probable, Leonard (hand) is questionable and Simmons (wrist) is doubtful vs Pelicans. Gasol (fractured metacarpal) is out.
However, when Popovich told reporters that Leonard had an injury that would heal quickly, he then corrected himself, jabbing Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway's now-infamous "alternative facts" quote. "Kawhi [Leonard] is out with an injury that’s not really an injury, but hopefully it will heal quickly," Popovich said . "That’s a figurative statement. It sounds like some of the things that are going on politically in the world. I apologize. I just gave an alternative fact. I shouldn’t have done that. But it wasn’t a lie, so don’t try to pin that on me. I’m tired of you guys pinning that on me."
July 3, 2022 | 4:34 am EDT Update
There’s an increasing possibility we’re going to find out. On top of ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reporting Friday that the Raptors are ‘lurking’ in the background of the Kevin Durant trade discussions that have held the NBA hostage in recent days, I can confirm that not only are the Raptors ‘lurking,’ but they also feel they can put together the best package of assets the Brooklyn Nets are likely to get.
There is also a sense – though it’s reading tea leaves at this stage, as teams can’t communicate directly with Durant, who remains under contract with the Nets – that the two-time champion and 11-time all-NBA force of nature is at least open to the possibility of playing in Toronto.
The Wolves also made several calls to Brooklyn on Kevin Durant, sources said, but the Nets were asking for established All-Stars and a mountain of picks. Minnesota was unwilling to part with either Edwards or Towns in a KD-centered deal, so there was no traction. Had they gotten more aggressive with San Antonio in talks for Dejounte Murray, they could have outbid Atlanta. But they didn’t, making it clear that they always valued Gobert more.
A league source told The Post any talk of a deal being close to done as premature. One reporter for The Athletic suggested Kendrick Nunn could be part of a larger deal, while another shot down the report altogether. Such is the chaos Kevin Durant’s trade demand has thrown the league into.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Mavs are looking into the possibility. “Kyrie Irving has several suitors involved Lakers, Sixers and Mavericks, keep an eye out in the next couple of weeks,” said Charania.
Nate Randle: An open letter to Rudy Gobert: You are the most respectful and considerate athlete I have ever had the pleasure of working with. As a former Utah Jazz employee and fan, you will be missed. I have spent 15+ years of my career in sports and have seen it all. Most don’t carry themselves as you do. When we launched the #TakeNote campaign, you were the first player to adopt it. When I said thanks for tweeting it, you sincerely asked me to tell the entire marketing team how much you loved it.
Every time we shot a commercial with you — you showed up on time and never asked to leave early. I can’t tell you how rare that is. When we asked you to “do another take” or “say a different line” – you never complained. I won’t forget the time we were recording voiceover lines. You paused and said, “Does it sound like I mean it because I want Jazz fans to know that I really care.”