Eric Koreen: Nurse said with intensity of Friday's game…

More on Kawhi Leonard Injury

Doug Smith: Raptors PR just says Kawhi Leonard is out tonight with a sore left knee. This is gonna be a gem of a game in Atlanta
Jason Anderson: I'm hearing @Kawhi Leonard (load management) might be held out again tonight when the @Toronto Raptors play the @Sacramento Kings. Leonard has missed the last two games. He was expected to return tonight but it's the first leg of a back-to-back with a big game against the Pacers tomorrow.
Mike Ganter: So no Kawhi Leonard tonight vs Pacers. Raptors have ruled him out. Lowry listed as questionable but still believe it’s a good bet he plays.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Kyle Lowry will miss Toronto's game at Portland with thigh bruise -- Kawhi Leonard will play, per Raptors.
Tim Bontemps: The Raptors have listed Kawhi Leonard as questionable for tomorrow night's game in Portland. Leonard has missed the past two games with a bruised right hip.
Eric Smith: Direct quotes from Kawhi on his foot and/or status: "I feel alright." "It feels ok." "We'll see tomorrow how I feel." "I did everything I wanted to do (in practice)."
Josh Lewenberg: Nurse, asked if Kawhi's health is going to be a problem: "Not from what I've seen, at all. But a guy that hasn't played that much (over the last year), we're going to monitor it."
Toronto Raptors guard Danny Green empathized with Kawhi Leonard desiring a second opinion on his injured quadriceps, after learning recently during an exit physical in San Antonio that he had been playing with a torn groin that went undetected by the Spurs.
Green suffered the injury Dec. 8 against the Boston Celtics. "I get an MRI the next day," Green said. "[It says] slight strain, take a couple weeks off. So we do the rehab, do everything we're supposed to do. After some time, it healed. I tried to play again. Certain days, I'd have bad days. Some days would be good. I'd feel it. My agent [Joe Branch said], 'Maybe we should get a second opinion.' I didn't want to because I have full faith and believe in the Spurs' staff. They've always been great to me. They've always done right by me. They've always done a hell of a job."
Asked about the trouble Leonard had experienced getting back on the court, Parker expressed sympathy, noting the ruptured quadriceps tendon he himself had suffered in the playoffs the season before and the difficulty of his own rehab. “I’ve been through it,” said Parker, who has signed to play in Charlotte next season. “It was a rehab for me for eight months. Same kind of injury, but mine was 100 times worse. You just stay positive.” Parker’s quote was mostly innocuous, except for three words. Leonard’s representatives took issue with the phrase “100 times worse.” They were furious, believing the Spurs point guard was questioning Leonard’s commitment to returning.
Josh Lewenberg: Kawhi will be taking his physical in the next few days, Masai says. "He'll be here shortly."
Despite being eligible to receive a five-year super max extension this summer worth $221 million from the Spurs, Leonard wanted out of San Antonio for myriad reasons. He felt betrayed by the team for the handling of the quadriceps injury that kept him out of all but nine games last season -- plus, Leonard's camp believes the Spurs misdiagnosed a 2014 wrist injury as well -- and also for the resistance encountered from the franchise when seeking outside opinions. Not to mention what seemed to be public questioning of the situation by members of the organization, with sources saying the forward had been medically cleared to play since December.
The franchise harbored some ill will, too, but considered Leonard such an important commodity it was willing to work through the difficult times toward resolution. The Spurs disliked ceding control in August of Leonard's medical care to outside doctors and were miffed by the handling of the entire situation by the forward's representation -- namely uncle Dennis Robertson -- who, like Leonard, didn't necessarily excel in the communication department, according to sources.
Privately, officials within organization had hoped Leonard would let the Spurs declare him out for the season due to his injury, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. Believing he'd eventually return, Leonard declined each time, leaving Popovich to field queries from the media that he couldn't definitively answer. Popovich simply didn't know.
Parker elected to utilize the Spurs' doctors, while Leonard sought treatment outside of the organization. "I have no problem with Kawhi Leonard. We never had an argument," Parker told The Undefeated. "When the journalist asked me if my injury was worse than Kawhi's, I said yes because it was true. But that didn't lessen the significance of his injury. He took over the franchise and I gave up the torch of the franchise willingly. It's very sad that the media took one quote and made it sound like I didn't want to play with him. He was the face of the franchise."

http://twitter.com/MarcJSpearsESPN/status/1015336826666512384
Peter Vecsey: "Kawhi listened to the Spurs doctor. Did everything he was told. But when he went back to play his knee began to hurt from the stress. He was scared about blowing it out. He saw what happened to Isaiah Thomas when he played in pain for Boston in the playoffs. He got reduced to damaged goods. As a free agent this summer, he'll never recoup the $50M-$100M he lost by deciding to play. "The Spurs knew the quad was only 70 percent," insists my source. "Kawhi got good advice, advice anybody would give their son in the same situation, see an independent doctor."
Bruce Bowen, who won three NBA titles with the San Antonio Spurs, took Kawhi Leonard to task for his dealings with the team this year, saying "there's nothing but excuses going on." Speaking on Sirius XM NBA Radio Thursday night, Bowen said: "First, it was, 'Well I was misdiagnosed.' Look here: You got $18 million this year, and you think that they're trying to rush you? You didn't play for the most part a full season this year. And you're the go-to guy, you're the franchise, and you want to say that they didn't have your best interest at heart? Are you kidding me?"
"I think he's getting bad advice," Bowen said. "I think what you're starting to see now is an individual given a certain amount of advice, and it's not the right advice. Here it is: You were protected in San Antonio. You were able to come up during a time where you still could lean on Tim [Duncan] Tony [Parker] and Manu [Ginobili]."
"Not one time has Kawhi come out and said anything to the effect of, 'You know what, hey, I really enjoy being in San Antonio.' Or, 'I can't stand what's going on here in San Antonio,' " Bowen said. "Not one time has he said anything."
The Spurs’ front office and Leonard’s representatives had been in communication since the season ended, and Leonard has been in contact with coach Gregg Popovich, league sources said. Leonard spent most of the second half of the season rehabbing his injury in New York, where his medical team was based and where he trained with Spurs staffers. He has returned close to full health from the lingering quad injury.
Leonard had told confidants that he did not want to sit down with Popovich and has been purposely difficult for the Spurs to reach recently. Among the issues, Leonard is angry over what he believes was the Spurs' mishandling of a quad injury, and remains irate with public comments out of teammate Tony Parkerand Popovich that he felt were not supportive of him, league sources said.
Peter Vecsey: In a cell conversation yesterday with Kawhi’s fringe friend (see above car quote), my first words were ones I’ve often promoted: “You know, I’m only as good as my source. What can you tell me?” Enough so that I’m thoroughly disinclined to believe Kawhi and Pop can’t patch things up, predominantly because their relationship isn’t in need of a large patch. From what I’m told, they’ve never exchanged harsh words or gone off on each other. A single problem existed last season that would not go away: Kawhi’s caregivers and doctors felt his repaired quad wasn’t entirely healthy when he returned 28 games into the season. After nine, some very effective, minute-monitored games, they insisted he return to rehab.
Peter Vecsey: But there is a reason they’re called ‘team’ doctors, and not players’ doctors … they’re paid by the team. “The media made it seem as if the Spurs and Kawhi’s people weren’t communicating. Like they didn’t know where he was and how things were going,” my source said. “They were in constant touch. I think Pop made Mitch wear a helmet cam. “The Spurs had their opinion regarding what should be done. Kawhi’s people disagreed. I don’t see any reason why both sides can’t move forward together.”
Charania reported that Kawhi Leonard is close to 100 percent and expected to be ready for training camp. The Spurs still intend to “mend fences” with the guard and Charania noted that the two sides are much closer to a resolution than it appears from afar. He insisted that Leonard didn’t “go rogue” by rehabbing in New York away from the team during the season, and said he’s been close to Spurs staffers and Gregg Popovich as he mourned the death of his wife.
Leonard played in just nine regular season games in 2017-18 despite receiving clearance from the Spurs’ medical staff to return from a quadriceps ailment. His decision to continue rehabbing away from the club under the supervision of his own medical team created a rift between him and the Spurs, as well as many of their fans. “It’s a bit of a dark cloud,” [Spurs advertising executive] Aguilar said of the saga, which ranks among the strangest in club history.
Rudy Gay: With that situation, it’s tough being injured. I know it was tough for him. It’s tough when you’re sitting out and knowing what you can do and not being able to contribute. I’ve done it! I’ve been there and had to sit out. Not being able to play basketball is hard. This is all we know. Being healthy is rare in this business. That’s why I’m taking this summer to get myself 100 percent healthy and become the best player I can be. I guess our timing was off, you know?
Ramona Shelburne: "I think Pop has a general sense of, 'My relationship with Kawhi seems to be strong,' and all that, but as far as specific details, I think that's where we get into—remember there was a little head fake when [Kawhi] was supposed to come back in March, [multiple people, including Adrian Wojnarowski] reported it and then it was, 'Nope, he's not ready yet.' I remember calling at the time and there was still optimism he'd come back a little later in March but that never happened.”
Ramona Shelburne: There are certain rules on how you're supposed to update injuries in the NBA, you're supposed to diagnose it and put real timelines on it. Well, that's what the team is supposed to do. But the team [San Antonio] is no longer in charge of this. All Pop can really say is, 'You'll have to ask Kawhi's group.' Then when we go ask his group, the answers are not forthcoming."
Zach Lowe: "Do you think the Spurs believe [if they were still alive in the playoffs] that Kawhi Leonard [could/should] be playing now?" Ramona Shelburne: "I think [the Spurs] think he can play. I don't know if they think he should play. Because... they'll seem him right now in three-on-three and he looks fine. You watch him go hard and he looks fine. But if you make him do certain tests, or isolate the right quad muscle, he still doesn't have—that test is not quite there yet. And then he'll still report pain in that area."
Leonard's camp believes his condition is the result of a series of contusions to the quadriceps that began with one very deep bruise in March 2016 that caused him to miss three games. Leonard was again listed with a "quad contusion" on the Feb. 6, 2017, injury report, when he was a late scratch before a game. But it wasn't until the end of last season when the severity of the injury became apparent. According to multiple sources, Leonard's camp has come to believe the issue has more to do with an ossification or hardening in the area where the muscle has been repeatedly bruised and then an atrophying, which in turn affected the tendons connecting the muscle to the kne
Initially the Spurs' doctors were calling the shots, with Leonard following their protocols for most of last summer in his workouts in San Antonio with team staffers and San Diego with his longtime personal trainer. But things began to change in August as Leonard continued to experience discomfort, according to sources. His agent, Mitch Frankel, and uncle, Dennis Robertson, began pressing the Spurs to consult outside opinions. Last fall, Dr. Keith Pyne, the managing partner of SportsLab NYC, who is affiliated with the Washington Nationals and New York Islanders, began consulting on the case.
Tom Orsborn: As expected, Kawhi Leonard is out for Game 5. Also as expected, Manu Ginobili is all in despite his late-game inury in Game 4: "Quad contusion, one of hundreds all career long," he said after Sunday's game. #Spurs
But is a reconciliation even possible? The relationship between Popovich and Leonard, multiple sources say, remains strong. The fact Aldridge remains a Spur at all — after he was upset enough last summer to ask for a trade — lends credence to the argument that it is always too early to judge these things.
When asked about his view on the Leonard situation, Aldridge made it clear that’s a topic he won't touch. “I have no comment,” he said as he walked away. “He has to do what’s best for him. That’s it. Nice to see you.”
Yet when it comes to understanding these Spurs, there’s a six-degrees-of-Kawhi component that won’t go away until his situation is resolved. The Spurs can offer him a five-year, $215 million extension this July, but there is increasing hope around the league they might trade him instead. His absence is only mysterious because of the breakdown in communication between the sides, with the Spurs having cleared Leonard to return only to see him stay away because his outside medical group — “his group,” as Popovich has repeatedly called them — has advised otherwise. Along the way, there’s an inevitable ripple effect on his teammates — on and off the floor.
“It’s tough,” Aldridge said of the circumstances of this season. “We’re depending on guys who really aren’t offensive guys, and I think that showed tonight. We have guys who really don’t score, and teams are exposing that and trying to make those guys score. ... But every guy in the locker room has grinded, and tried to get better, and you’ve got to consider that.” The ones who were there, anyway. When asked about his view on the Leonard situation, Aldridge made it clear that’s a topic he won't touch. "I have no comment,” he said as he walked away. “He has to do what’s best for him. That’s it. Nice to see you.”
Me: Do you have any expectation you’re going to see Kawhi? LA: No, we’re just playing. If you go day to day wondering when he’s going to be back, then you’re not in the moment and you’re not going to do your job. You have to do your job and put your best foot forward and focus on what you have to do to win. If he comes back, great. But this is us right now, that’s the attitude we have to have.
Me: How have you all sustained this season through all the injuries and Kawhi not being here? LaMarcus Aldridge: Just having the next-man-up kind of mentality, having the system where you can plug in guys and they can understand, or they can help the team in the ways they’re going to be good out there. And not giving in. It would have been easy to say we’ve had all this adversity this year and it’s not our year, but we have a bunch of guys that want to still be here. And we pushed through and guys got better, and the younger guys got some experience, and they’ve gotten better. It’s the whole team coming together.
The Spurs forward remains in New York to rehab the quad injury that has kept him out of action in all but nine games this season. Though some are undermining Leonard's motives, sources tell the Express-News his medical staff still have yet to clear the 26-year-old two-time Defensive Player of the Year, recommending he continue to sit out.
In collaboration with Spurs officials, Leonard followed through with a plan to travel back East earlier this month in hopes of receiving clearance to return to. But though progress is noticeable, doctors Leonard sought for a second opinion about his quad injury are still not ready to approve his return to play with the feeling he needs additional rehab under their supervision. Though national reports suggest Leonard and his camp decided to leave the team, sources told the Express-News the Spurs also suggested Leonard remain in New York to rehab following his routine checkup from doctors.
Leonard has been rehabbing in New York because that is where his medical staff is located, and he has not been cleared by his doctors, league sources said. Time has run short for Leonard — one of the league’s best players when healthy — to make a sensible return to the Spurs, who lost Game 1 of their first-round series to the Golden State Warriors on Saturday. Leonard has made strides recently in training and is focused on regaining his full health, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Leonard’s rehab program in New York has been in collaboration and with the approval of the Spurs’ medical staff, league sources said. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told reporters on Thursday that his team did not expect Leonard to play in the series.
Asked Sunday if Leonard would rejoin the team during the series, Popovich told reporters: “You’ll have to ask Kawhi and his group that question.” One Spurs player said Saturday it would have been hard to incorporate Leonard in the final five regular-season games and would be unfair to his teammates for him to return now.
Chris Haynes: ESPN Sources: San Antonio forward Kawhi Leonard still has not been cleared by his medical team. He is improving, but will continue rehabbing in New York. There is no timetable on his return, but he is being examined routinely.
Word is Leonard’s “people” would have to call Popovich and say he wants to rejoin the team to play in this first-round series, but such a scenario appears unlikely. One Spurs player said it would have been hard to incorporate Leonard in the final five regular-season games and would be unfair to his teammates for him to return now.
And to make matters even worse, Leonard didn’t make the trip to the Bay Area with the Spurs, killing any potential for moral support in a challenging playoff series against the NBA power Warriors. “Kawhi is rehabbing at his own pace with his own people,” Spurs center Pau Gasol told The Undefeated. “He hasn’t been around us. I’m sure he is trying to get healthy. I’m sure he is trying to get back. But that’s all I know. Really, as a teammate, as a player, that is all I know.”
Anthony Slater: Steve Kerr said the Warriors are preparing for a Spurs team without Kawhi: "We do not expect him to play"
Mark Medina: Draymond Green said “it doesnt matter” if Kawhi Leonard returns. Green has respect for Kawhi but he says he still takes Spurs seriously regardless
Paul Garcia: Kawhi Leonard is out for the Spurs’ regular season finale Wednesday at New Orleans. He will have played in 9 games this season.
Paul Garcia: Kawhi Leonard is OUT for the Spurs' game Monday against Sacramento per the Spurs. There's one regular season game left Wednesday at NOP.
Tom Orsborn: When it was suggested #Spurs might be leaving the door open for Kawhi's return out of respect for him, Pop said, "Players who are injured rehab and come back when they are ready. There is nothing else to it. I don’t know what else to tell you."
Tom Orsborn: Doc Rivers defended Kawhi and others seeking second opinions: "It's probably what they should all do...They just want to be sure. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with being sure." Said if it's OK for the rest of us to do it for, say, a heart ailment, why not NBA players?
Paul Garcia: Kawhi Leonard is OUT for Tuesday’s game against the Clippers the Spurs announced. There are 4 regular season games after Tuesday’s contest.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Kawhi Leonard is continuing his injury rehabilitation in New York with his own team of doctors, but Popovich is unsure when the star forward and "his group" will clear him to play. "I don't know when he's going to feel, he and his group are going to feel like they're ready to go," Popovich said Sunday before a game against Houston. "If I knew, he'd be here. When he and his group feel he's ready, he'll be ready."
Paul Garcia: Kawhi Leonard is OUT for Sunday’s Spurs-Rockets game. Leonard now has 5 regular season games to try to make a comeback.
Bobby Marks: Here is what a super max extension would look like for Kawhi Leonard this summer: 19/20 $37.8M 20/21 $40.8M 21/22 $43.8M 22/23 $46.9M 23/24 $49.9M The numbers certainly jump out at you.
Spurs staff has traveled to New York to meet with Leonard and stay abreast of his treatment and activity, sources said. Leonard has been using the National Basketball Players Association headquarters gymnasium facilities in recent days, sources said.
Leonard left San Antonio and his teammates in the aftermath of increasing tension levels surrounding his disconnect with the team and several near-returns that resulted in Leonard backing off and staying on the sidelines. Leonard's status was the focus of a Spurs player-only meeting on March 17, league sources told ESPN, and prominent teammates Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker have drawn attention for public comments about Leonard's status.
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."
Storyline: Kawhi Leonard Injury
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September 18, 2021 | 2:39 am EDT Update

Zach LaVine doesn't want to leave Chicago?

The Bulls’ offseason overhaul couldn’t have come at a better time, as Zach LaVine is on the final year of his contract with an extension yet to be signed. But if it were up to LaVine himself, he’s reportedly all-in on staying in the Windy City. That’s according to ESPN Chicago radio analyst David Kaplan, who’s heard from sources that the All-Star doesn’t want to go anywhere. Via ESPN 1000 FM: “He has told people that I know: ‘Hey man, if they want me here, I’m not going anywhere. I’m building this thing. I’m the first guy in the door. I wanna be part of this.’”
This rumor is part of a storyline: 55 more rumors
Is KAT’s trade value at all impacted by missing the playoffs yet again? If a Simmons deal can’t get done, would you think about trading him now, considering the likelihood that you may need to next offseason? — @JWeAnd1 Definitely no interest in trading him now. Towns will have plenty of value for the foreseeable future, barring a big injury. This is a big season. I think there will be more clarity, positive or negative, when 2021-22 concludes. Then the Wolves can make a real decision on how best to move forward. But Towns remains a focal point right now. That’s not changing anytime soon.
Morey will be in a similar position to Thibs in that rival executives will try to back him into a corner and wait for things to get really uncomfortable with Simmons, thereby driving down the asking price. But Morey is much more experienced in front office work than was Thibodeau, a coach to his core who had not yet started his third season as the lead decision-maker. Those around the league believe that if there is any executive able to stomach the circus that is sure to descend upon Philly, to block out the noise that comes with this kind of drama, it’s Morey.
Ben Simmons trade buzz has been one of the offseason’s hottest storylines, but president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and the 76ers have yet to pull the trigger in a deal involving the 25-year-old three-time All-Star. Will the Aussie wear the 76ers’ red, white and blue to start the season? By a wide margin, our panel’s vote projects Simmons to remain in Philly — at least until the season tips off on Oct. 19. 1. Philadelphia 76ers: 45%
Storyline: Ben Simmons Trade?
Despite the on-paper match, ESPN’s NBA insider Zach Lowe took to his podcast to say there’s a slim chance of that actually happening due to the Clippers’ lack of interest in Russell Westbrook when he was available: “The Clippers were never interested in Russell Westbrook. They were a rumored Russell Westbrook trade in a few places whenever that happened. They were never interested. That was never a real thing. I think they value their optionality too much.” Lowe ultimately concluded, “I just don’t see it,” because, like Westbrook, Wall is over 30 and has a massive contract — $44 million due this season and a player option the following season for over $47 million.
The Philadelphia 76ers earn the top spot for Team Turmoil, as our experts predict which teams will be surrounded by the most drama this season. While the Ben Simmons saga lingers in Philly, the Lakers could share in the dramatics, as head coach Frank Vogel will have to incorporate former MVP Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony along with five former Laker alums. 1. Philadelphia 76ers: 61 points (55.0% first-place votes)
Storyline: Philadelphia 76ers Turmoil?