“Kawhi has made significant progress and continues to move forward in his rehabilitation,” Spurs General Manager RC Buford said in a tweeted statement. “This is the best approach for the next steps in his return to play.”
Leonard was averaging 16.2 points and 4.7 rebounds over nine games during the 2017-18 season. He scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds with four assists and four steals Saturday in a win against Denver. But two nights later in Atlanta, Leonard told San Antonio Coach Greg Popovich things “didn’t feel right,” according to the San Antonio Express-News.
Popovich held him out of action and the Spurs lost to the lowly Hawks, 102-99.
“It hasn’t responded the way we wanted it to,” Popovich told the Express-News after the team’s morning shoot-around Wednesday. “He’s given it a shot. He’s frustrated as hell. He wants to play badly. But if we’re going to err, we’re going to do it on the side of health and being wise.”
The Spurs are in third place in the Western Conference with a half-game lead on Minnesota. They are seven games back of Golden State, the top team. San Antonio hasn’t finished outside the of the conference’s top two teams since the 1996-97 season.
San Antonio has been getting by with a rejuvenated LaMarcus Aldridge, who is averaging 22.4 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Rudy Gay, an offseason free agent addition, is adding 11.5 points per game. Center Pau Gasol is adding another 10.4 points per game.
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