Report: Kawhi Leonard didn’t give Spurs guarantee of return this season
The Spurs reportedly held a players-only meeting to implore Kawhi Leonard to play. He reportedly defended his missing games due to injury. Even if his teammates believed his extended absence was justified, they surely wanted to know when it would end.
Apparently, they didn’t get an answer.Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News:
According to sources, Leonard, who was caught off guard by the meeting, stood his ground. He spoke up telling his teammates that a return was still the goal. But Leonard offered no set date or guarantee about a return this season.
Leonard did receive support from some teammates, urging him not to return until he feels healthy enough, sources told the Express-News.
The meeting lasted roughly five to 10 minutes with no clear update on Leonard’s plans.
Leonard previously told teammates he planned to return to play, according to Danny Green (who, incidentally, denied the ESPN report). Later, Leonard said he planned to play soon. But despite reportedly targeting a return a week ago, he remains out.
No matter how hard anyone pushes, nobody can seem to get a straight answer – which only adds frustration.
Some teammates are apparently more understanding than others, though. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN characterized the meeting as “tense and emotional at times” with teammates “expressing frustration and confusion.” Young adds Leonard “did receive support from some teammates, urging him not to return until he feels healthy enough.”
I’m sure everyone wants Leonard back only once he’s healthy enough, but that’s a vague standard. The Spurs have reportedly cleared him. Leonard and his own medical team haven’t. It wouldn’t be surprising if his teammates are also divided on whether or not Leonard should play.
When will he deem himself ready? If this meeting didn’t yield an answer, I don’t know what will.