There’s some concern to be had with the San Antonio Spurs. Star Kawhi Leonard, recently seen struggling to board a team plane, still does not have a date to return to the floor from injury. Coach Gregg Popovich confirmed as much last week.
Now, Popovich has said that Leonard’s recovery is coming along slower than expected and that he’s not really sure why.
Popovich was asked about Leonard and his quadriceps injury and gave his answer with context compared to Spurs PG Tony Parker.
“He’s just coming along more slowly for whatever reason. It’s just been more difficult for him to get through the rehab routine. So his body hasn’t reacted the same way as Tony [Parker]. Tony’s at the point where he’s been going five-on-five and that kind of thing. He’s not totally confident. It’ll be a few more weeks. But he’s definitely going the right direction. And so is Kawhi. It’s just been taking a little bit longer.” Asked if Leonard would have to go through same process as Parker to be cleared to play, Popovich said, “Sure. I wouldn’t want him to go right from rehab to jumping on the court. He’s got to go three-on-three, five-on-five, feel comfortable because in the end, that confidence is what’s going to…anybody who’s been out for any length of time has to get that back; even if the doctors say, ‘Yep, you’re ready to go.’ You’re really not until you’re mentally ready to go.”
That’s got to be concerning for San Antonio fans. Yes, the team is in good shape early as they sit at 6th in the Western Conference — a feat by itself given the star power in the West these days — but not having Leonard long term due to injury doesn’t bode well.
Soft tissue injuries are troublesome in the first place, and when teams aren’t able to give relevant time frames you start wondering just what kind of season the Spurs are in for. If and when Leonard returns, he’ll have a hell of a time getting himself back into game shape and ready for San Antonio’s playoff push toward the end of the season. Assuming, of course, he’s back by then.