Kawhi Leonard returns to Spurs lineup Monday night vs. Hawks

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The Spurs have kept winning despite Tony Parker missing time with his back, Kawhi Leonard with a concussion, and LaMarcus Aldridge (heart condition). They kept winning, but the team was not the same.

San Antonio is getting one of them back Monday night against Atlanta.

Leonard had been out since the third quarter of a game against the Thunder, when he took a blow to the head (see video at the top of the post).

The Spurs are just half a game back of the Warriors for the best record in the West and the NBA, and the two teams are tied in the loss column. The Spurs have made up ground quickly as the Warriors stumbled, but the Warriors are home now for a stretch with a soft schedule and likely turn things around. The Spurs need to keep getting wins, and the Hawks will present a challenge.

Having Leonard back will help. He is having an MVP-caliber season averaging 26.2 points per game, shooting 38.4 percent from three, and he has become the fulcrum of the Spurs offense. On the other end of the court, he draws the toughest perimeter assignments. He made his case for MVP with some plays against James Harden recently.

Aldridge and Parker remain out. More clarity on Aldridge’s situation is expected later in the week after more tests.