Kawhi Leonard injury update: Pop to meet with Spurs star to discuss potential return

If everything goes to plan, we should see Kawhi Leonard back on the court this week for the first time since Jan. 13. According to reports from ESPN on Saturday, Leonard plans to play Thursday night in San Antonio when the Spurs take on the New Orleans Pelicans

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich didn't confirm those reports after Saturday's loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, but he didn't come out and deny them either. 

"Well good for them. I'm glad they're reporting that. I don't know what they reported. I don't hear. I don't worry about reports," Popovich said at the time.

Now, following the Spurs' loss to the Houston Rockets on Monday night, Popovich told reporters that he plans to meet with Leonard on Tuesday to discuss his potential return. Via ESPN:

"I'll see Kawhi [Tuesday]," Popovich said. "We'll see how he's feeling, and see how ready he is, and see how ready I think he is. And we'll go from there."

If Leonard does indeed return on Thursday, it couldn't come at a better time for the Spurs. After holding things together without Leonard for much of the season, they've fallen apart lately. They've lost three games in a row, are just 2-8 in their last 10 games and would miss out on the playoffs if the season ended after Monday's loss. 

Now, Leonard isn't going to show up and immediately turn things around by himself. He hasn't played in two months, and he's only played nine games all season, so it's going to take him a while to get back up to speed. And he'll likely be on a minutes restriction in his first few games back. 

But if Leonard can get back to at least a version of his MVP-candidate self from last season, he should be able to do enough to help the Spurs sneak into the postseason. And the Spurs with a healthy Leonard would not be a fun matchup for whichever top seed has to end up facing them in the first round. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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