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Kawhi Leonard.

The curious case of Kawhi Leonard's injury for the San Antonio Spurs

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The San Antonio Spurs are yet to see superstar Kawhi Leonard take to the court this season as he's taking longer than expected to recover from injury.

The small forward has been rehabbing from a quad injury but has shown slow progress that has left Spurs fans worried.

The team has been coy on revealing details about the issue and a timetable for his return which has left many people questioning what is really going on.

It's not a new occurrence that San Antonio is not giving much away as they rarely provide time frames for injured players or give regular updates.

But because of the player involved and his importance, reporters have been persistent in looking for answers.

Worry

Surprisingly, head coach Gregg Popovich recently decided to weigh in on Leonard's health and provided a worrying assessment of the injury his star player is suffering from.

When asked whether he has seen such a condition, he said: "Never, never. What's really strange is that [point guard] Tony [Parker] has the same injury, but even worse.

San Antonio Spurs v Phoenix Suns

"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."

According to Tom Orsborn of San Antonio Express-News a source told him, “they are perplexed by how long it’s taken him to get better,” in reference to the team.

The two-time Defensive Player of the Year has not featured since an ankle sprain ended his season in game one of the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors in May.

Despite overcoming that setback, he was on the Spurs' injured list during training camp and still hasn't been able to practice with his teammates or take part in any drills.

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers

There are multiple steps he must go through before getting the full clearance to make a return but at the moment that day still seems unclear.

Any time he's been pressed for an answer on when he can expect Kawhi back, Popovich has been consistent with his answer.

"I keep saying sooner rather than later," Popovich said, per ESPN. "It's kind of like being a politician. It's all baloney, doesn't mean anything."

It's a curious problem for the franchise but their hopes this season hinge on it so it should be a concern, not only around when he'll be back but how he will feel physically when he does.

San Antonio Spurs v Memphis Grizzlies - Game Four

The big worry for the Texas-based outfit will be if it could harm the player long-term and that is precisely the reason why they've adopted a cautious approach to his recovery.

Encouraging signs

But thankfully for Spurs fans, the latest update on the two-time All-Star appears to be more positive. Well, that's if his teammate Parker is to be believed.

The French point guard made his long-awaited return from a torn quad muscle in the team's home win over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night and revealed that Leonard is not too far behind having worked out with him recently.

"He looked great," Parker said. "I was like, 'Oh, he's good. I forgot that he was that good.' Yeah, [he's] close. It's still going to be a process. Still, the Spurs aren't going to take [any] risks.

Houston Rockets v San Antonio Spurs - Game One

"It's still going to be, like I said, a couple of weeks, three weeks. They're not going to take any risks. But he's looking good so far. What he did with me, he's looking good."

Popovich, however, disputed Parker's claims telling reporters that his assessment should be taken under caution, which just seems to add to the uncertainty around the whole situation and again shows that the organization is not willing to share much information.

Parker is the first person to put a specific time frame on the 26-year-old's injury but Pop immediately shut it down.

The Spurs coach did, however, admit that his crown jewel is finally heading in the right direction.

San Antonio Spurs v Sacramento Kings

"He's getting very close and making progress," Popovich said. "He's having contact now, and hopefully, we'll get him back shortly."

It seems this bizarre situation is finally coming to an end soon which is good news at long last for the Spurs faithful.

Having one of the league's best players back out on the floor will make them a dangerous proposition and genuine championship contenders once again.

Topics:
NBA
Tony Parker
San Antonio Spurs
Southwest Division
Western Conference
Kawhi Leonard

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