- Eric Gay/Getty
- The San Antonio Spurs are shutting Kawhi Leonard down indefinitely as he battles injuries.
- Leonard has played just nine games this season after missing the first 27 games with a quadriceps injury.
- It’s unclear when Leonard will return, but the Spurs will have to push on without their best all-around player for the foreseeable future.
The San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday announced that Kawhi Leonard is being shut down indefinitely as he continues to battle tendinopathy in his right quadriceps.
Leonard has played just nine games this season after missing the first 27 games of the season with the issue to his quadriceps. In January, it was revealed that Leonard was also playing with a partial tear in his shoulder.
Injuries have been an issue for Leonard since October, when the team announced Leonard would miss the entire preseason with a quadriceps injury. It has apparently not gotten better as the season continues.
“It hasn’t responded the way we wanted it to,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told the San Antonio Express-News on 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.”
There had been some confusion in the NBA world as Leonard returned to action on December 12, but only played consecutive games once, sitting out several games at a time. He averaged 16 points and 4 rebounds per game in his nine games this season, a far cry from his MVP-worthy 2016-17 season when he averaged 25 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game.
“I’m probably more conservative than most, but the trainers, the rehab people, the doctors, the coaches, we all talked about this for a long time,” Popovich said.
The news is obviously tough for the Spurs who have seldom played with a full cast this season. At 29-16, the Spurs are third in the West, but will need to push on for an unspecified amount of time without their best overall player. It’s unclear if Leonard will return this season, but so far, the signs haven’t been good.