The San Antonio Spurs are off to a decent start this season, going 11-7 through their first 18 games even as star forward Kawhi Leonard deals with an injury.
Leonard was injured during the playoffs last season, and hasn't been cleared to resume on-court activities as of yet.
Obviously, that has hurt the Spurs, but the team has managed to stay afloat. Currently, the Spurs are only three games behind the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference.
However, on Thursday, coach Gregg Popovich gave a concerning update on Leonard, telling ESPN.com that he has never seen an injury quite like Leonard's in all his years of coaching:
"Never, never," Popovich said. "What's really strange is that [point guard] Tony [Parker] has the same injury, but even worse. They had to go operate on his quad tendon and put it back together or whatever they did to it. So to have two guys, that's pretty incredible. I had never seen it before those guys."
That's obviously not good news for Spurs fans, who were hoping to get the star forward back in the near future.
Popovich also admitted that him saying he expects Leonard back soon is just him having to say something, as he doesn't have much of an idea when Leonard will see the floor again:
"I keep saying sooner rather than later," Popovich said jokingly. "It's kind of like being a politician. It's all baloney, doesn't mean anything."
Clearly, the Spurs are staying afloat without Leonard, but they'll need him back eventually if they want to make a run for a top-three seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
Kyle Anderson has taken over many of Leonard's minutes and has played well. Popovich credited Anderson for stepping up and saying he'll have to find a way to get Anderson in the lineup even after Leonard returns from his confusing injury:
"We're not surprised at all," Popovich said. "He's just had a hard time getting minutes with Kawhi at that spot. He's always been a good basketball player. I just haven't given him the minutes that he's gotten this year. When Kawhi does come back, I've got some figuring out to do, because he should still be on the court somehow or other. He's really taken advantage of the time, for sure."
First things first, though - Leonard needs to be cleared to play. It remains to be seen how long it will take Leonard to get into game shape, but the Spurs and their fans will be watching closely.