The bizarre and confusing saga with Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs continues.
Apparently Kawhi Leonard has decided he is ready to return to practice and is aiming for a return in March even though just a week ago Gregg Popovich said he would be surprised if Leonard returned this season despite reports that Spurs doctors had cleared him.
From Michael C. Wright and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
“San Antonio star Kawhi Leonard plans to resume working with the team at the Spurs’ practice facility this week — with the hopes of returning to the lineup sometime in March, league sources told ESPN….
Leonard isn’t expected to immediately start engaging in full five-on-five practices with his teammates, but the goal is to advance toward that level of engagement in the near future, league sources said.”
It is really hard to know if there are serious issues between Leonard and the organization, if something is more wrong physically than the Spurs are aware of or if Leonard just has some of the yips and is struggling with the mental hurdle of a return.
Either way, a healthy and re-incorporated Leonard makes the Spurs the clear 3rd best team in the western conference and at the very least a threat to the Warriors or Rockets. Without him they are just a member of the pack and could easily fall in round one of the playoffs.
Leonard is up for a super max extension from San Antonio this summer, it is time he and the organization figure out whatever issues may exist and work together again, they both need each other.