Adrian Wojnarowski: Story filed to ESPN with @Michael C…

More on Kawhi Leonard Injury

Tom Orsborn: Pop gave an indication door hasn't closed on Kawhi returning by discussing what would happen if he does, "The logical. Minutes would change for people, positions would change, the synchronicity of what you might want to do might have to return at some point."
Mark Willard: Kawhi Leonard's college coach Steve Fisher @FoxSportsRadio: "Kawhi is a basketball junkie. It's all he wants to do. When I had him, he played through every injury."
Here's Spurs coach Gregg Popovich discussing the players-only meeting regarding Kawhi Leonard: "I only talk about the things that I know, and I know he's worked hard to get back. It's been frustrating. You don't think he wants to come back? You don't think we want him back? But the fact that he's not back, it frustrates everybody for all the obvious reasons. But there's no blame to be placed, on him or anybody else. It's just an unfortunate situation. So what we do, what we think about, we're going to do what we've been doing. The guys that are playing, that's who the team is. And if he got added to the team, well that's great. But you have to act like it's not going to happen because you have to be who you are. And he's not with us right now. So this team has to have its own identity. That seems pretty logical. That's the only way to look at this."
Mike Finger: Popovich, for the record, says he did not know about last week’s infamous team meeting. “I wasn’t invited.”
Tom Orsborn: Tony Parker on his return from the career-threatening quad injury he suffered last May: I’ve been through it. It was a rehab for me for eight months. Same kind of injury (as Kawhi), but mine was a hundred times worse. But the same kind of injury. You just stay positive."
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: 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.
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: 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."
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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."
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).' "
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.
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 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.
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.”
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.
Storyline: Kawhi Leonard Injury
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October 20, 2021 | 9:48 am EDT Update

PJ Tucker on not re-signing with Bucks: 'I was pretty surprised'

Tucker declined to discuss the offer he received from the Bucks in free agency. “I was pretty surprised,” Tucker said of not ending up back with the Bucks. “You win a championship and you’re part of winning something special like that, you would expect that. A chance of it not happening? There’s a chance. It didn’t happen. Does it happen a lot? I don’t think so, not in that situation, not in those situations. You watch role guys in series in the past, usually those guys go back. So I’ll take my situation as just that, a particular situation. I move on from it and keep it going.”
This rumor is part of a storyline: 39 more rumors
Tucker was successful in helping the Bucks win a championship in July, but just three months later he’ll be facing his former team as a member of the Heat. “I don’t even want to talk about it,” Tucker said when asked about specifics regarding his departure from Milwaukee. “It’s that far removed from my mind now. Like it’s something that happened. Everything worked out. I’m happy where I’m at. And I move on.”
But Thursday’s matchup against the Bucks feels somewhat personal for at least one player on the Heat’s roster, and he actually won an NBA championship with Milwaukee last season: Veteran forward P.J. Tucker. “I mean, come on, we’re competitors. I was part of that,” Tucker said this week of facing his former team on Thursday at FTX Arena (8 p.m., Bally Sports Sun). “To not be back? For sure. You know it’s like natural human behavior. Definitely, I want to win this game better than I want to win any other game. Yes, I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t.”

Zion Williamson expected to play on minutes restriction when he returns

There’s an expectation that Williamson will resume play under a minutes restriction when he does take the floor, sources said, typical for stars returning from injury. But with Williamson, who bristled at the training wheels Pelicans officials placed on his reintegration from a torn meniscus injury as a rookie, it could be a higher-stakes game of poker.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 175 more rumors
When he joined the Pelicans’ recent preseason trip to Minnesota, several league personnel on hand were struck by his heavier appearance than his listed playing weight last season of 284 pounds. “I know Zion at 280, and he was not 280,” said one observer. “These are the injuries you have to be the most concerned about, a foot injury for a guy with noted weight issues,” said one Western Conference executive.
Before Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin addressed reporters last Thursday, word was already circling around the league that Williamson was unlikely to make his 2021-22 debut before November, at the earliest. It was even known in rival front offices that Griffin planned to speak on the matter rather than issue a press release. This all comes after league figures raised a collective eyebrow when Griffin blamed Williamson’s season-ending finger injury on poor officiating.
Storyline: Zion Williamson Injury
Tatum’s post-COVID-19 recovery ramp-up saw him turn into one of the league’s top free-throw machines, drawing 7.6 a night in the final 18 games of the regular season. It started with his 53-point explosion against Minnesota on April 9, which seemed to be his springboard to the next level of his game. That would have ranked him seventh in the league for the season, right between fellow Hanlen client Bradley Beal and James Harden. He was averaging just 4.4 free throw attempts per game up to that point but kept it going in the playoffs with four double-digit free-throw attempt nights in six games (including the Play-In Tournament game against Beal’s Wizards) and going 62 of 66 overall in those games.