Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Gregg Popovich says Kawhi Leonard will return “sooner rather than later”

San Antonio Spurs v Golden State Warriors - Game One

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 14: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs stands on the court during Game One of the NBA Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on May 14, 2017 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Getty Images

So far this season the Spurs have been doing what they do, going 9-5 and winning without their best player, their two-way star Kawhi Leonard. They continue to execute and not beat themselves, LaMarcus Aldridge is playing his best ball in years as the offensive focal point, Rudy Gay has been fantastic off the bench for a dozen points a night, and the Spurs have the fifth best defense in the NBA even without their two-time Defensive Player of the Year.

But when will Kawhi Leonard return? He’s been out through training camp with right quadriceps tendinopathy (he played through it last season), and some reports have had recovery going more slowly than expected.

Gregg Popovich addressed the issue Tuesday before the Spurs beat the Mavericks, via Tom Osborn of the San Antonio News-Express.

Asked if there is “light at the end of the tunnel” for the Spurs’ linchpin player, Popovich said after shootaround Tuesday morning, “Oh, sure. He’s gonna be back sooner rather than later.”

The coach then paused before adding, “Whatever nebulous (stuff that was). As soon as I said it, I thought, ‘What the hell does that mean?’ ”

Make of that what you will. It’s plenty vague.

Our only glimpses of Leonard did not make look positive. This is what Popovich said a week ago to ESPN, and it seems more telling.

“He’s just coming along more slowly for whatever reason,” Popovich said. “It’s just been more difficult for him to get through the rehab routine. So his body hasn’t reacted the same way as Tony [Parker].”