Southwest Notes: Leonard, Okafor, Benson, Grizzlies

The strange injury situation with the Spurs and superstar Kawhi Leonard took an unexpected turn earlier this week. Head coach Gregg Popovich said that it is unlikely that Leonard returns this season. A separate report indicated that Leonard — who has been medically cleared to resume his return — has personally made the decision to remain inactive.

Leonard, last year’s third-place finisher in MVP voting, has missed all but nine games this season. The Spurs have not missed much of a step without Leonard, wielding the third-best record in the Western Conference (35-24). Leonard’s longtime teammate and Spurs legend, Manu Ginobili, weighed in on the situation.

“Nobody is in his body,” Ginobili said, per Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News (via Twitter). “He feels the way he feels and we don’t know. Yeah, we know he has been cleared. But, again, if he is feeling pain, isn’t sure, he is not ready to come back, then he’s not.”

Check out other Southwest Division notes:

  • Emeka Okafor has fought his way back to the NBA and earned a pair of 10-day contracts with the Pelicans, Rod Walker of The New Orleans Advocate writes that Okafor, a former second overall pick, is glad to be back in the league. “It’s been an awesome ride so far,” Okafor said. ” I’m happy to be here trying to earn my way back in. Now that I’m back, it feels good and it feels natural. I’m going to keep on going until I’m told otherwise.”
  • Pelicans owner Tom Benson was recently admitted to a Louisiana medical facility after experiencing flu-like symptoms, according to the team’s Twitter feed. Benson, 90, is resting comfortably and is receiving top-notch care, per the statement.
  • The Grizzlies are finishing up a poor season that will not end in a postseason berth, but the team – led by veteran Marc Gasol and interim head coach J.B Bickerstaff – wants to finish the year well, Ronald Tillery of the Commercial Appeal writes.
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12 thoughts on “Southwest Notes: Leonard, Okafor, Benson, Grizzlies

  1. mcmillankmm

    Okafor a first round pick but was 2nd overall in 2004. Although he did win ROY over Dwight during 04-05

  2. Dionis

    Kawhi will be a Laker in the summer, Magic will move Ingram and Kuzma for him and all aboard Lebron.


    • Z-A

      Noel is not a good investment… Lazy and injury prone. Sixers even gave up on him.

    • bennyg

      As much as I believe Kawhi will be a Laker, I do not believe it will be before the start of 18/19 season. And I’m sure as hell certain it will not be at the cost of both Kuzma and Ingram. Ingrams the one to be traded.
      And I’m sure as hell sure LeBron ain’t playing PF. Nor will he leave Cleveland.
      Kawhi and Thompson are my two.

  3. Z-A

    E. Okafor is another example of why Coleangelo needs to go. Can’t evaluate talent. Had him IN HOUSE, already knew he was better than Amir Johnson.

    • stillerfan

      Okafor can’t shoot past 3 feet and is slow. If he were worth more anything, he wouldn’t be on 10-day contracts.

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