Manu Ginobili says Spurs shouldn't be optimistic about Kawhi Leonard returning this season

Manu Ginobili isn't going to get his hopes up about Kawhi Leonard making a return this season. The Spurs star has sat out almost the entire season with a nagging quad injury that leaves him in too much discomfort to play. He's been medically cleared, but Leonard is reportedly not comfortable returning yet. 

There was a point where it felt like Leonard nearing a return, but it never came to fruition. The constant reports of him being close to a return only to remain out has to be mentally draining on a team. That's why Ginobili is going through the rest of this season with a mindset that Leonard won't return. Via ESPN:

"He is not coming back," veteran guard Manu Ginobili said. "For me, he's not coming back because it's not helping [to think Leonard is returning]. We fell for it a week ago again. I guess you guys made us fall for it. But we have to think that he's not coming back, that we are who we are, and that we got to fight without him. That shouldn't be changing, at least until he is ready for the jump ball." 

There is some clear frustration in Ginobili's words here, but his response feels related to how the Spurs allowed their mindset to shift. They convinced themselves that their best player was going to return and help them finish out the season. That didn't happen. He knows the Spurs have struggled this season and he knows they need to play out the season as they are. Without expecting Leonard to return as some kind of savior.

The Spurs would love to have Leonard back, but the chances of that happening at this point are starting to feel slim, at best. There isn't much time left in the season for him to make a return, and even if he did would he be healthy enough to make an impact? It's hard to say. Like Ginobili said, the only thing the Spurs can do at this point is go about the season as if he's not returning. It's the best way for them to remain focused on the games ahead.

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