San Antonio Spurs superstar Kawhi Leonard has missed all but nine games this season with a right quad tendinopathy injury, and he might not be back all season.
Wednesday, when Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich spoke to reporters, he said, “I’d be surprised if he returns this season.”
Leonard, who sustained the injury at some point last season, was not ready for the beginning of the 2017-2018 season. He made his debut on Dec. 12 and lasted all of nine games before announcing he’d be out indefinitely.
The injury itself is a sensitivity of the tendon and causes pain especially during exercise. So playing basketball through a tendinopathic injury is challenging.
According to an ESPN report, the injury and subsequent rehabilitation has frayed the relationship between Leonard and the Spurs organization. With Leonard’s impending potential free agency in 2019, San Antonio might start worrying about how long they’ll have one of the best players in the game.
San Antonio currently has a record of 35-24, which is good for third in the Western Conference. Without Leonard, the team is 30-20. The team has continued without their best player, and it’s a testament to the coaching acumen of the legendary Pop.
The Spurs have had an undeniable dynasty, having made the playoffs every year since 1998 when they drafted Tim Duncan. Not only that, but they’ve been a top four seed every year but two during the same span. While missing the playoffs is unlikely at this point in the season, their chances of hosting a playoff series in the first round could easily vanish over the next two months.
Leonard is one of the best players in the league and is only entering his prime. He’s a two-time first-team All-NBA player, a two-time defensive player of the year and he won the NBA Finals MVP back in 2014.