Leonard was reminded about the Spurs’ status – in the middle of a playoff push with now 10 games remaining. According to sources, Leonard, who was caught off guard by the meeting, stood his ground. He spoke up telling his teammates that a return was still the goal. But Leonard offered no set date or guarantee about a return this season.
With confusion continuing to build around Kawhi Leonard's season status, key team veterans on the Spurs took matters into their own hands. Sources tell the Express-News veterans held a players-only meeting that was led by Tony Parker after Saturday's win over the Minnesota Timberwolves to ask Leonard about his return. The vets wanted to know if Leonard intended to play this season, and if so, when he was planning to return.
Leonard did receive support from some teammates, urging him not to return until he feels healthy enough, sources told the Express-News. The meeting lasted roughly five to 10 minutes with no clear update on Leonard's plans.
Brandon Paul: Player: I can't wait to get home & rest it's been a long week! Media: Player hints he's had enough & growing tensions begin to divide locker room also 100% for sure player has asked a for more meaningful role in selection of post game meals! Read more he....
Brandon Paul: I made a satirical tweet which isn't far off from reality when it comes to players words being misconstrued..much like how you took Manu's comments. If that hurt your feelings I am sorry, wasn't my intent. I sincerely don't care about any so called "reports"
Brandon Paul: For months ppl have been talking about this as if it's first injury in NBA history, & for what? Then wonder why dudes don't want to talk to the media lol. I'm all about positivity. Let's talk about how unreal LA has been, or how Manu is 40 going on 23, or how...
Paul Garcia: Kawhi Leonard is OUT for Friday’s Spurs-Jazz game. He now has 9 games left to try to make a comeback this season.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources on ESPN: Spurs held players-only meeting, imploring Kawhi Leonard to return to lineup. Danny Green: Couldn’t be anymore incorrect lol.
With confusion continuing to build around Kawhi Leonard's season status, key team veterans on the Spurs took matters into their own hands. Sources tell the Express-News veterans held a players-only meeting that was led by Tony Parker after Saturday's win over the Minnesota Timberwolves to ask Leonard about his return.
The vets wanted to know if Leonard intended to play this season, and if so, when he planning to return. Leonard was reminded about the Spurs' status – in the middle of a playoff push with now 10 games remaining. According to sources, Leonard, who was caught off guard by the meeting, stood his ground. He spoke up telling his teammates that a return was still the goal. But Leonard offered no set date or guarantee about a return this season.
The San Antonio Spurs held a players-only meeting to implore All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard to return to the lineup and help the team in its push for the playoffs, league sources told ESPN.
Spurs guard Tony Parker, a four-time NBA champion, quarterbacked the meeting with his teammates and Leonard after Saturday night's victory over Minnesota, league sources said. 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, was resolute in response, insisting that he had good reason for sitting out all but nine games with a right quad injury this season, league sources said.
"He is not coming back," veteran guard Manu Ginobili said. "For me, he's not coming back because it's not helping [to think Leonard is returning]. We fell for it a week ago again. I guess you guys made us fall for it. But we have to think that he's not coming back, that we are who we are, and that we got to fight without him. That shouldn't be changing, at least until he is ready for the jungle." Sources told ESPN that Leonard's target date to return from the quadriceps tendinopathy that has kept him out for all but nine games this season has always been "mid-March." But the team continues to list him as out on its official injury report as a component of what it calls "return-from-injury management."
Tom Orsborn: Mills said Leonard has made it clear to his teammates that he has "taken control of what he can rehab-wise and injury-prevention-wise" and is "doing all he can get back on the floor. And we trust him in that." #Spurs
Tom Orsborn: Manu says his mindset toward Kawhi hasn't changed: "For me, he's not coming back, because (thinking he is) is not helping. We fell for it a week ago - again. I guess you guys (media) made us fall for it. But we have to think that he's not coming back. That we are who we are."
Michael C. Wright: Official update: Kawhi Leonard (return from injury management) is out for tomorrow’s Spurs-WIzards game.
Tom Orsborn: Asked if Leonard could play in the playoffs without having returned during the regular season, Pop said, "I don’t speculate on any of that stuff." He also said that as of this point, Kawhi has not been cleared by his own medical people to return. #Spurs
Michael C. Wright: Kawhi Leonard will miss his 60th game tonight, and become the first Spur to miss 60+ games due to injury since Ian Mahinmi in 2008-09.
Tom Orsborn: Asked if Leonard is doing more than 3 on 3 these days, Parker said, "I have no idea. He is not practicing with us." #Spurs
Jeff McDonald: Tony Parker still holding out hope for Kawhi return but admits time is running out. "At some point, it makes no sense (to bring him back.)"
ESPN's Lisa Salters reported on Saturday that Leonard and the Spurs were targeting Thursday's home game for his return if he continued to progress in his recovery from a quadriceps injury that has caused him to miss all but nine games this season. A source told ESPN that Leonard's target date has always been "mid-March," suggesting that his return to the court will more likely be next week, as the Spurs have home games Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Jeff McDonald: Kawhi Leonard spent most of the game seated on the floor, instead of the bench for some reason. Pop (JOKING!!!!): "We'll give him a seat when he starts playing again."
RJ Marquez: A few key points Popovich also said about Kawhi Leonard: Pop said he saw Kawhi work out and he agrees "he needs a little bit more work." Nothing overrides the medical staff and finally this quote in terms of Leonard's future with #Spurs⬇️ #KSATnews #ksatsports #GoSpursGo
Jeff McDonald: Pop says Kawhi "has to be cleared by his medical staff" before Spurs can put him on the court. Admits Kawhi is "frustrated" with the process and wants to play.
Michael C. Wright: Nothing has changed: Kawhi Leonard’s return continues to be dependent on his comfort level with managing the injury. Translation: he'll come back when he feels he's ready to go.
San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard will remain out through Thursday’s home game against the New Orleans Pelicans because of his lingering right quadriceps injury, league sources told Yahoo Sports. External optimism had built for Leonard’s potential return this week, but he is expected to remain out and will continue to evaluate his injury for a possible comeback before the season ends, league sources said.
Leonard has worked hard to play again, seeking multiple opinions on his quadriceps and working with the Spurs to ensure a healthy return to the court, league sources said. A firm target for his return has yet to be determined.
Ramona Shelburne: Kawhi Leonard will NOT play Thursday vs the Pelicans, per source. He's feeling "much better" but still not quite ready to return but there's still optimism he can return before the end the season.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said before Monday's game with the Rockets he does not have a firm date yet for Kawhi Leonard's return to the court. "I'll see Kawhi tomorrow and we'll see how he's feeling and see how ready he is and see how ready I think he is, and we will go from there," Popovich. League sources have said Leonard is targeting either Tuesday's game against the Orlando Magic or Thursday's game against the New Orleans Pelicans for his return.
Tom Orsborn: Gregg Popovich on Kawhi Leonard possibly returning this week: "I'll see him tomorrow. See how he's feeling. See how ready he is, see how ready I think he is, and we'll go from there." #Spurs
Paul Garcia: Aldridge (right knee soreness), Manu (rest), and Kawhi (injury management) are all OUT for Monday’s Spurs game at Houston SA announced.
Kawhi Leonard could be available for the San Antonio Spurs as early as Thursday's game against the New Orleans Pelicans, sources tell ESPN's Lisa Salters.
Leonard has been riding a stationary bike and participating in three-on-three drills to simulate the physical contact of games, but has done so with staff members and "not my players."
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN's Lisa Salters is reporting that San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard could return as early as Thursday's game against New Orleans. League sources tell me that barring a setback, Thursday vs. Pels is indeed the targeted return of Leonard to the lineup.
Jeff McDonald: Kawhi Leonard is not on the trip to GS-OKC-HOU, but as has been oft-reported already, there is gathering hope he might be able to return in the middle of this month.
Michael C. Wright: Ran into someone on a flight that would know a lot about how hard Kawhi Leonard is working to get back. Told "the big dog" is putting himself through some insane workouts to get back on the court. Also told he's close.
RJ Marquez: Per #Spurs, Pau Gasol (right AC sprain) and Kawhi Leonard (return from injury management) are OUT for tomorrow’s #Warriors game. Rudy Gay NOT on today's report #KSATsports #KSATnews
Star forward Kawhi Leonard said Wednesday there is no friction between him and the Spurs regarding his treatment for the quadriceps ailment that has limited him to just nine games this season. "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.
RJ Marquez: BREAKING #Spurs news: Kawhi Leonard addressed the media today and said he would want to finish his career in San Antonio, adds he will return "soon" and he is practicing with physical contact, goal is still to return this year (pics via @markmendez) #KSATsports #GoSpursGo pic.twitter.com/dxqCduvlsU" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">pic.twitter.com/dxqCduvlsU" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">pic.twitter.com/dxqCduvlsU
Michael C. Wright: Official update: Pau Gasol (bone bruise, left knee) is probable for tonight's Spurs-Lakers game. LaMarcus Aldridge (sprained right ankle) is out, as is Kawhi Leonard (return from injury management).
In all, Spurs players have missed 149 games this season due to injuries (169 total). A clear timetable for Leonard's return remains unclear. "Of course, there's a protocol," Popovich said of Leonard's status before Wednesday's game. "He's doing what he's supposed to do. He's working hard at it. He wants to be back. When and if he feels like he's ready to go, he'll be there."
Kevin O'Connor: I was talking to somebody at Sloan about this, because we were talking about Markelle Fultz and whatever is going on with him between his ears. And I was like, "Could it be that with Kawhi Leonard?" And the response was, "No, probably not. This is an actual quad issue."
Michael C. Wright: Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on Kawhi Leonard's rehab: "Of course there's a protocol. He's doing what he's supposed to do. He's working hard at it. He wants to get back. When and if he feels like he's ready to go, he'll be there."
RJ Marquez: Interesting comments by Danny Green at #Spurs practice. Said team has been in contact with Kawhi Leonard throughout and knew he would try to come back. This would go against some reports of Leonard being entirely distant, disconnected from team #KSATsports #KSATsports #GoSpursGo
Tom Orsborn: Ginobili: "It’s not positive for us (to believe Leonard is coming back)…The better approach (is), 'He’s not coming back. Let’s play with what we have and try to get as good as we can without him. And then we will figure it out (if he does return).' "
San Antonio star Kawhi Leonard plans to resume working with the team at the Spurs' practice facility this week -- with the hopes of returning to the lineup sometime in March, league sources told ESPN.
Leonard isn't expected to immediately start engaging in full five-on-five practices with his teammates, but the goal is to advance toward that level of engagement in the near future, league sources said.
The injury, rehabilitation and timetable for a return has played a part in complicating the Spurs and Leonard's relationship, causing a fraying of what had long seemed to be a model partnership, league sources told ESPN. The uncertainty surrounding this season -- and Leonard's future which could include free agency in the summer of 2019 -- has created significant concern at the highest levels of the organization, league sources said.
Paul Garcia: The Spurs have announced Manu Ginobili is QUESTIONABLE to play at CLE Sunday with a bruised sternum. Kawhi is also OUT.
A source from another team told me recently that the distance between Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs is real, but the Spurs aren't panicking. They'll wait until he comes back before making any franchise-altering decisions, even if that means waiting until next September. We'll see. Waiting to work things out when Kawhi returns seems like the prudent course, and that's probably the most likely outcome. But Kawhi playing basketball this year was also considered a foregone conclusion at one point, and what's happened since has been strange enough to make you wonder about the future.
Can you please tell me that my Spurs are going to be O.K. after this latest Kawhi Leonard news? Marc Stein: Really wish I could, but Wednesday’s proclamation from Gregg Popovich that he’d be surprised to see Leonard return this season is ominous on too many levels. The Spurs have won at least 50 games in 18 consecutive seasons and have posted a winning record on the road going all the way back to the 1997-98 season, which was Tim Duncan’s rookie season. Both of those streaks are in serious jeopardy now — and that’s just the short-term stuff. How deep are the fissures in Leonard’s relationship with the Spurs? Were Pop’s comments intended to try to goad him into coming back? Are the Spurs unwilling to offer the “supermax” contract this summer that Leonard is eligible to receive? Is this all building toward a showdown that winds up getting Leonard — who so many of us thought was the perfect Spur and a future M.V.P. — traded in the off-season? These are the sorts of questions people around the league are asking about San Antonio, which hasn’t endured drama on this level since the early days of Duncan’s career, before the Pop-led Spurs started regularly winning championships in 2003.
He has been medically cleared by the Spurs, but is opting to remain out until he believes he can better manage the effects of his condition. Leonard has sought a second opinion from his own doctors. There is more at stake than the Spurs’ NBA-record run of 20 consecutive playoff appearances. Leonard’s future with the Spurs could be in play. In turn, so too could the Spurs’ two-decade reign as one of the NBA’s premier teams.
Leonard’s contentious return from tendinopathy treatment comes amid reports of a strained relationship between the player and the team. Popovich and general manager R.C. Buford have denied or downplayed the tension. Leonard has not addressed the media since reports of a fissure surfaced. The true answer will likely come this summer, if and when Leonard is offered the supermax.
RJ Marquez: #Spurs list Kawhi Leonard as only player OUT for tomorrow's game at Denver #KSATsports #KSATsports #GoSpursGo
Coach Gregg Popovich's declaration Wednesday that he would be "surprised" if franchise player Kawhi Leonard returns this season has provided the Spurs with some much-needed clarity as they prepare to play the final 23 games of the season, guard Manu Ginobili said Thursday. "We know know who we are, and it's not like, 'Is he coming back next week?' " Ginobili said after practice. "At this point of the season, there is only twenty games left, so we've got to face the rest of the season as if he isn't coming back."
Kawhi Leonard has played in just nine games this season while struggling to recover from right quadriceps tendinopathy. "We are too close to the playoffs to keep waiting," Manu Ginobili said. "So if he is back, awesome. We will welcome him. But if he isn't, we just have to go to battle with what we have. We have had a tough season, but we are still hanging around in the third spot, and we are still optimistic about our chances."
Kawhi Leonard reportedly got medical clearance, but was not seen at the Spurs' first practice after the break on Wednesday. Adrian Wojnarowski made it clear on Thursday the decision to return will be Leonard's call. "He’s been cleared medically by the Spurs' doctor and outside doctors, and it’s on him, his own threshold of pain or discomfort, about when he will return,” Wojnarowski said.
After spending 10 days before the All-Star break in New York consulting with a specialist to gather a second opinion on his right quad injury, All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard bears the burden of determining when he's prepared to play again, sources told ESPN.
Away from the Spurs to pursue second opinions in New York, Kawhi Leonard recently utilized the gymnasium inside the National Basketball Players Association headquarters in Manhattan for workouts, league sources told ESPN. The Spurs had team personnel accompanying Leonard in New York, sources said.
The injury, rehabilitation and timetable for a return has complicated the Spurs and Leonard's relationship, causing tension and fraying the fabric of what was once a strong partnership, league sources told ESPN. The uncertainty surrounding this season -- and Leonard's future which could include free agency in the summer of 2019 -- has inspired a palpable stress around the organization, league sources said.
The bad news for the Spurs, Kawhi Leonard might be done for the season. “On Kawhi, I’ll be surprised if he returns this season,” Popovich told the media. “We only have x number of games left in the 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’s going to be a tough decision and you know, how late you bring somebody back. That’s why I’m just trying to be honest and logical. I’ll be surprised if he gets back this year.”
When asked if the Spurs will rule out Kawhi Leonard for the season, Gregg Popovich responded: “I’m ready to say what I just said.” “We’ve got to move on,” continued Popovich of the team’s mindset. “The team has to realize this is who we are. Wishing and hoping doesn’t do anybody any good.”
Michael C. Wright: Gregg Popovich just said he'd be surprised if Kawhi Leonard returns this season.
Paul Garcia: LaMarcus Aldridge on Kawhi Leonard at today's AS media session: "We've got to get him back. He's trying to get healthy now, so we're going to let him get healthy"
Paul Garcia: "I'll be the same person," said Aldridge on if his game will change when Leonard returns. "I have to be who I am now for us to have a chance to win it."
The Spurs have grown accustomed to living the rocky life of missing Kawhi Leonard for much of this injury plagued season. Now they are prepared to wave goodbye to LaMarcus Aldridge until after the All-Star break. Aldridge will not play in either of the Spurs' final two games leading into the break, tonight in Utah or Tuesday at Denver.
On the eve of the NBA trade deadline, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili indicated they would like to see the team stand pat, with the hope that Kawhi Leonard will return in time for the Spurs to get on a roll entering the playoffs. "I think it is always good to stay intact," Parker said after the team's shootaround in preparation for Wednesday night's game against the Suns. "We went to the conference finals last year, so the biggest thing for us is not a trade but to get Kawhi back," Parker added.
Paul Garcia: The Spurs have announced Rudy Gay and Kawhi Leonard are OUT for Wednesday's game at Phoenix.
In certain instances in the past, including at least one involving Leonard, the Spurs have been reluctant to entertain second opinions from outside doctors, a person familiar with the team's medical approach told B/R. "They think their medical people are so great," the person said.
RJ Marquez: #Spurs news: While discussing Kawhi Leonard rumors and his rehab, Gregg Popovich admitted an injured Tim Duncan could have played in the 2000 NBA playoffs, but Popovich did not want to risk Duncan's future. 4 more titles later, the decision worked out
Given all the drama, and the questions surrounding Leonard's injury, CBS Sports spoke with certified athletic trainer Jeff Stotts to get a better understanding of what Leonard is dealing with, and where things may go from here. In addition to his work in the field, Stotts runs his own website, InStreetClothes.com, and serves as an injury analyst for CBS Sports partner Rotowire.com. CBS Sports: We hear about tendinitis or a torn tendon, but what do they mean by tendinopathy? That's one we don't hear about as much. Jeff Stotts: Well, the problem with tendinopathy is it can kind of be a catch-all term. A lot of times it just refers to anything that's wrong with the tendon itself. It can be anything from tendinitis to an actual disease of the tendon, like a degenerative disease. It can be two extremes. It can be something mild like a tendinitis, or something a little bit more chronic, where it's more problematic. And even sometimes you can either reference tendon tears and include them in the tendinopathy category because they involve a tendon, though there's been no indication that Kawhi ruptured or tore his patella like Tony Parker did around the same time last season.
Jeff Stotts: The big thing for me here, is San Antonio has historically the best medical staff in the NBA since 2005-06. They've lost the fewest number of games, and they have a long history of taking a conservative, proactive approach with their players. You can go back to 2000, Tim Duncan, when he tore his meniscus, they elected to shut him down rather than let him play through it. He elected for the surgery, and obviously went on to have a Hall of Fame career. Popovich and his staff, and the medical team in San Antonio, they were the precursors for the rest phenomenon, they were the first ones resting players for extended periods of times, targeting schedule rest days during the season for their players, with their eye on the postseason.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich shrugged off a local reporter's suggestion that his team is mired in a "soap opera," one day after ESPN reported on the strained relationship between the club and its star forward Kawhi Leonard.
"I don't even know why you say it's a soap opera," Popovich said. "Some people wrote some articles. I understand it, but soap opera? It's a soap opera if we talk about it every day, I guess. I don't get it. We won't talk about it. There's nothing to talk about other than what we've already said.”
Gregg Popovich: "The rehab is going slower than we expected. We wish it were going more quickly. If we're going to err, as we have in the past, we're going to do it on the conservative side. We kept Timmy Duncan out of the playoffs one year because of a knee, and he could have played. So I don't see this as anything different than we've done with any other player. But some people for some reason want to do that. That's OK. But that doesn't affect my team or me or anybody else."
Paul Garcia: Pop on both the Spurs and Kawhi being frustrated about his injury situation: "Nobody wants to come back more than Kawhi Leonard. I think I'm number two. His teammates want him back, everybody wants him back."
Months of discord centering on elements of treatment, rehabilitation and timetables for return from a right quadriceps injury have had a chilling impact on San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard's relationship with the franchise and coaching staff, league sources told ESPN. Under president and coach Gregg Popovich and general manager RC Buford, the Spurs have a two decades-long history of strong relationships with star players, but multiple sources describe Leonard and his camp as "distant" and "disconnected" from the organization.
In an interview with ESPN, Buford rejected the reporting of turbulence between the franchise and Leonard. "There is no issue between the Spurs organization and Kawhi," Buford told ESPN. "From Day 1 all parties have worked together to find the best solutions to his injury."
December 1, 2021 | 3:33 pm EST Update
Adrian Wojnarowski: As I just reported on NBA Today with host @Malika Andrews: Suns star Devin Booker is expected to miss a few games with his left hamstring injury, per sources. It’s considered minor, and Suns plan to err on side of caution with a long way to go for a team with title hopes.
December 1, 2021 | 3:18 pm EST Update
Marc Stein: The Heat announce that Bam Adebayo will require surgery and is out indefinitely after sustaining a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb. More NBA from me: marcstein.Substack.com