Kawhi Leonard Expected To Miss Remainder Of Postseason

Spurs All-Star Kawhi Leonard is expected to miss the remainder of the postseason with the intent of fully rehabilitating his injured right quadriceps, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports reports.

We noted earlier today that Leonard has remained in New York to continue his rehab in hopes of returning this season. However, it appears that after months of speculation, Leonard’s 2017/18 season is over and his future in San Antonio becomes the focal point.

The 26-year-old appeared in just nine games this season, averaging 16.2 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 2.3 APG in 23.3 minutes per contest. Leonard missed the first 27 games of the season, then appeared in nine midseason contests, suffering a partial tear in his left shoulder in early January. He has not played since January 13 as he rehabs his right quadriceps tendinopathy.

Leonard finished third in NBA Most Valuable Player voting last season behind winner Russell Westbrook and runner-up James Harden.

Without Leonard, the Spurs still made the postseason as the seventh seed with a 47-35 record. San Antonio suffered a 113-92 Game 1 defeat to the Warriors on Saturday and will have to battle Golden State without their two-time Defensive Player of the Year.

Conspicuously, Leonard has been largely absent from the Spurs during his rehab. Just today, head coach Gregg Popovich said that Leonard would only return once his group of doctors and associates deem him ready.

“€œYou’€™ll have to ask Kawhi and his group that question…so far they say he’s not ready to go. So we can’€™t do anything until that happens. Then we would have to decide what’s going on from there. But that’€™s the first thing that has to happen.” Popovich said.

It seemed that Leonard’s situation reached a boiling point in late March when a team meeting was held in which his teammates asked him about his status. While the meeting was not tense, according to several reports, Leonard’s teammates left without a clear indication of his situation.

Leonard can hit free agency next summer, where he will have no shortage of suitors. However, given his frustrating season in San Antonio, reports have suggested that teams will inquire about his availability in trades this offseason. Yesterday, the Clippers emerged as a potential trade partner for the Los Angeles native.

While there’s a chance Leonard will never play for the Spurs again, his extensive rehab suggests he wants to be healthy for his next NBA game — whenever and wherever that game takes place.

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20 thoughts on “Kawhi Leonard Expected To Miss Remainder Of Postseason

  1. ldfanatic

    KL quit on this team. He will never be looked at as an MVP-caliber player again for whichever team he plays for next

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    • Dodgethis

      More like spurs know they have a crap team and Leonard didn’t want to sacrifice his future for an already lost season. Let’s say he made it back for the start of the post season. He hasn’t played in months and would be trying to do too much which always ends in injury. If anything the spurs quit on Leonard by not surrounding him with decent talant.

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  2. wright0525

    I disagree. There has to be something’s that we don’t know about this situation. What made him not trust the spurs doctors. Sounds like he’s catching a bad rap.

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      • Ezra77

        Everything started going wrong once Tony Parker called him out instead of talking in private. The relationship was just strained

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  3. hill

    Sure, there are many “somethings” we don’t know.

    What we seem to know is: The Spurs doctors cleared him to play. But Kawhi is not playing. Kawhi is not with the team. Kawhi is not rehabbing at the Spurs facility. Kawhi is not communicating with his employer or his Coach. Kawhi and his Agent are not communicating with the public.

    The “truth” no doubt lies somewhere on the spectrum between “My Doctor’s won’t LET me play” and “My Doctors are introducing enough medical doubt to allow me to CHOOSE not to play whilst not breaching my contract”.

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    • hill

      The fact he’s not rehabbing at the team’s facilities with team doctors is no small detail.

      It speaks volumes about the distrust between player and employer. We have to ask – What will the team doctors see that Kawhi doesn’t wan them to see?

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  4. Philly Fan

    I wonder when tensions between Kawhi and San Antonio started? Perhaps seeing Houston, OKC, and the TWolves all acquire all-stars while San Antonio just resigned declining vets might’ve made Kawhi think that the Spurs are no longer contenders? And why would he want to be in San Antonio if they’re a middle of the road team?

    But this is just speculation

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    • I think there is something to it, including the LMA extension. Even the guys he won a championship with could all be gone after this summer between retirements and moves.

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  5. Z-A

    Probably has something to do with next year being a contract year, wanting to go in full strength not reinjured, like he did this year.

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  6. hiflew

    Regardless of whether it is fair or not, the perception will be that he has just “Derrick Rose’d” his career in San Antonio. I think the CBA needs to address something like this. Perhaps every team should have a team doctor that is independently hired by the league and if that doctor clears you, you would be required to either play or forfeit your current year salary and give the team the option of forfeiting all future contract years at no cost. Quitting should never be an option.

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    • Z-A

      Forcing players to play if they don’t feel ready, sounds like a good way to get sued.

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      • hiflew

        So you think that a player should not only get paid for not working when cleared, but they should have the right to sue you for more money if you try to make them earn the money you are giving them to begin with. You’d make a good agent, not a successful one, but one players like.

        It’s not forcing them to play. It’s giving them a choice, play when you are deemed healthy or forfeit your salary. I’d love to get a job where I get paid sick leave when a doctor says I am not sick, but there aren’t many of them around.

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        • Z-A

          It’s rare, but NBA teams can void a contract for cause. Waive/Trade is the other option.

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        • Z-A

          If you’re salaried, then yes your get paid even if you’re out sick.

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    • xtraflamy
      xtraflamy

      I don’t see how anyone can be medically cleared if they feel pain. Pain is a real symptom indicating a medical problem. If the Spurs medical staff cannot find (or accept) the cause of the pain then that is their doctors’ inadequacy, not Kawhi’s. Pain is pain – even if it is somatic-based, it is real, and needs to be treated.

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      • hiflew

        Either that or the player is LYING. Patients lie all the time about pain.

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        • Z-A

          Yea to get workman’s comp or settlements. His contract is guaranteed. No reason for him to lie, he would just look worse. He knows his body.

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  7. bestno5

    This is the weirdest story of the season. It’s not a typical story you get from the Spurs. The Kong’s maybe but not the Spurs. Hope they figure it out because he is a solid player

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