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Spurs assign Kawhi Leonard to D-League

Kawhi Leonard

San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard (2) reacts to a penalty call during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat in Miami, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

AP

Kawhi Leonard has missed the Spurs last 18 games, after being shut down due to tendinitis in his left knee back in mid-November.

It appears he’s getting closer to being healthy enough to return to the lineup.

San Antonio assigned Leonard to their D-League affiliate on Wednesday, likely to continue his rehab and work toward getting back into game shape.

Like Amar’e Stoudemire of the Knicks who was similarly assigned, Leonard shouldn’t be playing any any games for the Austin Toros, but will simply be there to work out and get ready to play at the NBA level once again, and as soon as possible.

Leonard is a big part of what the Spurs do defensively, and he’s also a young player who can take up a nice chunk of minutes when the team is playing on the second night of one of those pesky back-to-backs.

Leonard has appeared in nine games for the Spurs this season, averaging 10.6 points and 5.4 rebounds in 28.9 minutes of action.