The San Antonio Spurs recently had such a bad losing streak, they temporarily slid out of the playoff spots, and people were starting to question if the team would miss out on the postseason for the first time since the 1996-97 season.
Luckily for their fans, the Spurs' recent three-game winning streak has seen them jump back into the playoff mix in seventh spot in the Western Conference, most recently defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night, but they're only two games clear of the Los Angeles Clippers in ninth spot, so they must keep this good form going throughout the rest of the season.
San Antonio certainly know that their form this season might be better if Kawhi Leonard was on the court for more than just the nine games he has currently played. He has missed most of the 2017-18 season with a right quadriceps injury with recurring tendinopathy.
According to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich was asked yesterday if he believes Leonard could play for the team in the playoffs without having returned during the regular season, to which he said: "I don’t speculate on any of that stuff."
Popovich also said that as of this point, the small forward has not been cleared by his own medical people to return, so it sounds like he won't be returning anytime soon. However, Spurs fans will be hoping he isn't ruled out of the playoffs when the team needs him the most.
Leonard has received a lot of criticism for spending so much time on the sidelines recovering, but one of his San Antonio teammates in Pau Gasol has come out in defense of him, urging people to be patient.
Gasol said according to Orsborn: “We have all been patient and understanding. It must be hard for a guy that is as talented as Kawhi is to have a season like this and to be in the position he is in. All we can do is support him and encourage him and hope that at some point he comes back to help us."
The Spurs will be looking to extend their winning streak to four games when they play next, but they'll have to defeat the Golden State Warriors on Monday night in order to make that happen.
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