The right quadriceps injury that might keep Kawhi Leonard sidelined through the preseason is a carryover from last season, writes Melissa Rohlin of The San Antonio Express-News. The Spurs issued a press release today explaining that Leonard is in a rehab program for quadriceps tendinopathy, with coach Gregg Popovich noting that the All-Star forward’s recovery has gone slower than anticipated. He added that it is not related to the ankle injury Leonard suffered in the playoffs.
Although the team isn’t sure when Leonard might be ready, Popovich offered hope that he might be back before the regular season starts. “They are still rehabbing his thigh,” the coach said. “He will probably miss the beginning of preseason or a good deal of preseason. We are not going to put a timetable on it. But he is working on it, and we will get him back as soon as we can.”
There’s more tonight from San Antonio:
- Popovich, who was one of the pioneers in resting healthy players, supports the NBA Board of Governors’ move to allow commissioner Adam Silver to fine teams who take similar action, relays Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Teams can be docked up to $100K if they hold players out of nationally televised games. “The NBA is trying to make the game great for players, for fans and they’ve been very fair,” Popovich said. “Owners, coaches, general managers, the league have all been great about sharing information and trying to figure out ways to take care of the players and, at the same time, make sure it’s a great experience for everybody. So we are all on the same page.”
- Free agent addition Rudy Gay was among the most impressive players in this week’s scrimmage, Orsborn writes in a separate piece. Gay delighted the coaching staff with his ability to take the ball strong to the basket after having surgery for a torn left Achilles tendon in January. “He has surprised all of us by being ready so quickly, so that’s great,” Popovich said. “He will have to get a little bit of rust off. But you can tell this guy is a basketball player. At both ends of the floor, he’s got a great basketball mind.”
- The Spurs have also been impressed by Joffrey Lauvergne, who signed a two-year deal in July, Osborn adds in the same story. The French center, who spent time with the Thunder and Bulls last season, is expected to be a primary backup to Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge. “His offensive awareness has been really good as far as choosing when to try to score, when to kick the ball, play with his teammates on defense,” Popovich said. “Rebounding-wise, he’s very willing. He’s got a good aggressiveness to him.”