02 April, 2018
"For the second time this season, San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard has traveled to NY to continue rehabilitation for his lingering right quad injury under the supervision of outside medical personnel, league sources told ESPN", Adrian Wojnarowski and Michael C. Wright reported.
"It's the same as a player who is the 13th man sitting on the end of the bench", Popovich said. He spent time in NY before the February All-Star break. Leonard has missed all but nine games this season while nursing right quadriceps tendinopathy. The departure comes after reportedly increased tensions between Leonard, the Spurs organization, and teammates as a result of his disconnect with the team and several near-returns.
The 6-foot-7 forward has worked out at the NBA Players Association facility in Manhattan during both of his stays in NY. It was the 26-year-old's second trip to the third-party medical facility, and the timetable for his potential return to the basketball court is still unknown.
"I don't know when he and his group are going to feel like they are ready to go", Popovich said before Sunday's game against Houston. "If I knew, he'd be here".More news: Dana Jacobson defends Leonard Hamilton after awkward interview
The season-long drama regarding Leonard's health has left a lingering cloud over a franchise that needs to win its final six regular-season games to stretch its streak of 50-win seasons to 19.
"Sometimes you feel like an alien to the core group and you've got to fight through it", Ginobili said. "Of course that's the goal (of his stay in New York), to get well, that's what he's doing". He returned briefly but hasn't played since complaining of soreness in his injured thigh following a January 13 home win against Denver.
The Spurs are 44-32 and fourth in the tightly bunched Western Conference playoff standings.
Leonard is averaging 16.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.3 assists this season.