Spurs' Kawhi Leonard has final say on return, opts to remain out

Michael C. Wright

"I think our league has been built the right way as far as when it comes to the post-season", James said Wednesday after the Cavaliers' first practice since the All-Star break. But it's going to be a tough decision, how late do you bring somebody back? The team has continued without their best player, and it's a testament to the coaching acumen of the legendary Pop.

"I'll be surprised if he returns this season".

The San Antonio Spurs have been without Kawhi Leonard for basically all of the 2017-18 season.

For a one month stretch between mid-December and mid-January, it looked like the Spurs were trying to work Kawhi back but he was ultimately shut down because the team said that he was not progressing the way that they thought he would.

The loss of Leonard will be a detrimental blow for a Spurs team that has been treading water in the Western Conference with the expectation that their cornerstone player would return at some point in the season.

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If it's just a matter of Leonard not wanting to play though pain, you can understand why the Spurs might be a little frustrated. Despite an 11-game winning streak leading up to the All-Star break, they still don't have a high enough win percentage to find themselves in the top eight. He gave you an answer. We're a team. People have stepped up.? Kyle [Anderson] has stepped up.

Leonard is one of the best players in the league and is only entering his prime. We'll welcome him with open arms. We're going to have to prepare to make a run with or without him. But we still have to go out there and compete every night.

Smart is averaging 10.1 points, 4.7 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game this season.

Leonard's injury was initially disclosed by the Spurs on September 30, saying he would miss the entire preseason because of right quadriceps tendinopathy.

It's turned into a messy situation for the former Finals MVP and the team and we surely haven't heard the last of this mysterious saga. Wishing and hoping doesn't do anybody any good. So it's possible that Leonard soon gets past his quad injury, sneaks in a few reps before the playoffs and works his way back to full strength in time for a potential second-round matchup with the Thunder.

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