Time Is Running Out For Kawhi Leonard And The Spurs

Will Kawhi Leonard ever suit up for the San Antonio Spurs in these playoffs?

Kawhi Leonard is supposedly going to return to action very soon, but it’s not going to be tonight.

Tom Orsborn on Twitter

Same old same old: Kawhi Leonard is out for Monday’s game with the Warriors, per #Spurs injury report.

Leonard is being careful with his return to the hardwood and Spurs veteran Tony Parker is among a growing contingent that feels like it makes no sense for the two-way assassin to come back this season and risk further injury to his quad.

According to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News, Parker said, “At some point, it makes no sense [to bring him back].”

Leonard has missed all but nine games this season with a nagging quad injury.

ESPN’s Lisa Salters reported that Leonard was expected to return as early as last Thursday against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Time is definitely running out on Leonard returning this season. Back on March 7th, he said he was feeling better and would be back soon.

RJ Marquez on Twitter

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

Before Leonard went down with an injury on Jan. 13th, the Spurs were considered NBA title contenders. When it was reported in February that he got cleared to play by doctors and decided against it, the franchise was sitting comfortably in third place in the Western Conference standings.

Then the NBA watched in amazement as the NBA’s example of a perfectly run franchise appeared to have a rift developing between management and its star player.

ESPNs Adrian Wojnarowski reported back in February that Spurs doctors had medically cleared Leonard to return from the quad injury that has limited him to nine games this season.

Once he was cleared by doctors, the decision was on Leonard to return and Gregg Popovich said at the time that he didn’t think Kawhi would return this season. Naturally, Leonards unwillingness to play didn’t sit well with Spurs management and some Spurs fans.

The Shadow League on Twitter

This pic of Kawhi Leonard will make you really sad. (h/t @RealTomPetrini)

According to ESPN, sources described Leonard as distant and disconnected from the organization.

The injury, rehabilitation, and timetable for a return have complicated the Spurs and Leonards relationship, causing tension and fraying the fabric of what was once a strong partnership, league sources told ESPN.

They clearly weren’t on the same page. This Tweet had Kawhi probable for a game back in January.

San Antonio Spurs on Twitter

Kawhi Leonard (return from injury management) is probable for tomorrow night’s Spurs-Knicks game. Rudy Gay (right heel bursitis) is out.

With Leonard’s impending free agency in 2019 and a strong probability that he will opt out, Spurs Nation is feeling a tension that is unfamiliar to a franchise with a socially conscious coach who backs his players on all issues and a history of player-management harmony that has led to five championships.

It’s now March 19th. The Spurs are fighting for their playoff lives and Leonard is chilling, frustrated, still feeling the effects of the quadriceps tendinopathy that has plagued him all year long. That unfortunate injury in last years Western Conference finals delayed his return until midway through this season and two weeks later he was back on the shelf again.

So he has to make his own luck and protect his future. He can’t allow a third injury to take him out of the game before he really gets started. So Spurs fans have to be patient and hope for the best.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.