The Spurs lost Game 1 against the Warriors without Kawhi Leonard‘s services at their disposal and coach Gregg Popovich was asked if could see the 2016/17 MVP candidate returning for this season’s playoff run.
“You’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 (via ESPN Now video link).
The coach added that Leonard is in New York rehabbing his injured quad and Chris Haynes of ESPN.com (Twitter link) hears that the small forward still has not been cleared to play. Sources tell Haynes that there is no timetable for Leonard’s return, but he is being “examined routinely.”
Rumblings of his rift with the organization continue to linger over the team with veteran Pau Gasol recently telling the media that many of the San Antonio’s players haven’t seen Leonard in weeks. Several teams are keeping tabs on the situation and we learned this weekend that the Clippers will be among the teams with a trade offer should the Spurs put Leonard on the trade market.
Game 2 of the Spurs-Warriors series will be held on Monday. As the teams await the contest, let’s take a look at some notes from other playoff squads.
- Marcus Smart said he hopes to be ready to return to the court for a potential Game 7 of the Celtics‘ opening-round series or Game 1 of a potential second-round matchup, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe relays (Twitter link). The combo guard, who is recovering from surgery on his right thumb, hasn’t played since early March.
- Taj Gibson, who signed a two-year, $28MM deal with the Wolves last summer, played through pain during Wednesday’s playoff-clinching win and he’ll do the same during the team’s series with the Rockets. “No different, just got to play through it,” Gibson said of the pain he played through earlier in the week (via Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune). “There’s not much improvement. It’s just something thatâs going to have to heal up in the offseason and get rest.”
- Jimmy Butler has played only three games for the Wolves since recovering from knee surgery earlier in the season. Still, he’s confident that the team, despite the injuries woes, will be able to compete in the franchise’s first playoff series since 2004, Zgoda relays in the same piece. “I feel good, well-rested to tell you the truth,” Butler said. “I’m confident in myself and these group of guys. Everybody’s locked in and focused. We donât have anything to worry about, just go out and play.”