Kawhi Leonard Reportedly To Miss The Entirety Of The Playoffs

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets

[Yahoo] – San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard is expected to miss the remainder of the postseason as he continues to rehabilitate his right quadriceps injury, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Leonard has been rehabbing in New York because that is where his medical staff is located, and he has not been cleared by his doctors, league sources said. Time has run short for Leonard — one of the league’s best players when healthy — to make a sensible return to the Spurs, who lost Game 1 of their first-round series to the Golden State Warriors on Saturday. Leonard has made strides recently in training and is focused on regaining his full health, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Well, this is now looking more and more like a disaster for the Spurs and Kawhi Leonard. There were rumors that there was a chance he’d come back and play during this series, giving the Spurs a chance against the Steph Curry-less Warriors. However, this is now just that as any chance of Leonard returning is out the window.

I blogged earlier this morning about the report of the Clippers putting together a package for a possible trade with the Spurs if they decide to move on from Kawhi. Would it be crazy for the Spurs to do that? Yes. Kawhi is a top-10 player in the league and we’ve seen you need that kind of guy in order to win a championship. However, it’s also the Spurs. If they deem Kawhi too much of a distraction or can’t fix this relationship they’ll trade him and work on rebuilding a new core.

It’s a bit ugly right now as it’s been said the Spurs doctors cleared Kawhi to return. At the same time Leonard’s doctors haven’t cleared him as he’s been rehabbing in New York with his team of doctors after getting approval to do so from the Spurs. During an interview today, Popovich was asked about Kawhi’s potential return and his answer was ‘you have to ask his group.’ That sort of describes the relationship between the team and Leonard right now, no matter what you think of Popovich and his answers to the media.

Remember, there was a report that there was a players-only meeting near the end of the season where they tried to convince Leonard to return for the playoffs. He obviously didn’t return and didn’t even sit on the bench or in the arena during Game 1 against Golden State.

Ultimately, this is a dagger for the Spurs hope against the Warriors. They simply don’t have enough offense to play with Golden State nor can they put someone like Kawhi on Kevin Durant. We saw in Game 1, the Spurs throw a bunch of different guys on Durant, but no one has the size and athleticism to stick with him. Leonard is really the only one on the team that can do that. Then on the other side of the ball, we all saw the Spurs struggles. They can get stagnant offensively and really only have Rudy Gay as a guy on the wing that can go get his own shot.

This is going to be a story until Leonard is either traded or returns to the Spurs in training. Until then there will be rumors of possible landing spots for him all offseason.