Popovich would be 'surprised' if Kawhi returns this season

NBA.com Global on Feb 22, 2018 08:21 AM
Popovich would be 'surprised' if Kawhi returns this season
FILE - HOUSTON, TX - MAY 7: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs stands for a moment of silence for the National Anthem before the game against the Houston Rockets during Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2017 Playoffs on May 7, 2017 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBA.com staff report

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich does not sound optimistic about Kawhi Leonard's return for the stretch run.

Asked about Leonard's progress during Wednesday's (Thursday, PHL time) practice, Popovich said, "I'd be surprised if he returns this season."

 Asked to clarify why he feels that way, Popovich said, “Well, we only have X number of games left in the season and he’s still not ready to go."

"If by some chance he is it’s going to be pretty late into the season and it’ll be a tough decision how late you bring somebody back. That’s why I’m trying to be honest and logical. I’ll be surprised if he gets back this year.”

Leonard has not played since Jan. 13 (Jan. 14, PHL time) and has appeared in just nine games this season while battling a lingering tendinopathy issue in his right quadricep.

Despite Leonard's absence, the Spurs are 35-24 and currently hold the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference with 23 games left in the regular season.

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