Kawhi Leonard Refuses to Play Even Though He's Been Medically Cleared

Lawrence Cooper
February 23, 2018

The San Antonio Spurs are allowing Kawhi Leonard to make the decision on whether or not he plays this season.

That success has certainly alleviated some of the pressure for Leonard to return to action, but if San Antonio is to pose a real challenge to elite teams like the Warriors or the Rockets, they'll need a healthy Leonard in the lineup.

According to ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski, Leonard had been given the green light by the Spurs' medical team prior to his season debut against the Dallas Mavericks in December, but has since chosen not to return to the active roster.

San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said on Wednesday, "I'll be surprised if he returns this season".

Wojnarowski noted that the relationship between the Spurs and Leonard could be fractured beyond fix.

"I'll be surprised if he returns this season". The San Antonio Spurs don't return to action until Friday, but they're at the forefront of the National Basketball Association world due to the ongoing drama between them and Kawhi Leonard. However, if Utah were to get the sixth seed and the top three teams stay as they are now, they would face off in the first round against the Spurs instead. "If by some chance he is [ready to play], it's gonna be pretty late into the season".

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Leonard is now away from the Spurs to pursue second opinions on his right quad in NY, according to ESPN.

As of Wednesday they're barely ahead of the Timberwolves, and just 4 1/2 games separate San Antonio from the No. 10 Utah Jazz.

Leonard, who averaged 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game last season, will be an unrestricted free agent in 2019.

When asked if the Spurs were ready to announce Leonard is done for the season, Popovich responded "I'm ready to say what I just said".

However, Popovich stressed that Leonard had not suffered an aggravation of the injury, which had caused him to miss the entire pre-season and insisted the franchise would not rush the player back. However, it's doubtful they'll be capable of making any kind of run in the playoffs without their best player. Not to mention, Kawhi could come back sooner than predicted, the Spurs could switch spots in the standings with another team such as the Wolves or some other unforeseen scenario could happen preventing the possibility (or preference) of a Jazz-Spurs matchup at all. Whether that happens is apparently up to Leonard, according to a new report.

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