For the past two decades, the San Antonio Spurs have been the most consistently great franchise in the NBA. And in addition to winning five titles and making the playoffs every year since 1997, one of the their greatest accomplishments has been keeping things relatively drama-free.
This season, however, that has not been the case. Most all the drama, of course, has centered around Kawhi Leonard and his pesky quad injury. The All-Star forward has played just nine games this season, and has not stepped onto the court since Jan. 13. Since that time there have been quotes from Gregg Popovich and Manu Ginobili seeming to indicate that Leonard wouldn't play again this season, as well as a report that Leonard was preparing to return in mid-March. Obviously, that didn't ended up happening.
Most recently, the Spurs held a Danny Green.during which Leonard was questioned about when he may rejoin the team, which is currently fighting for their playoff lives in the Western Conference. An ESPN report stated that the meeting was tense, though that characterization was denied by
In any case, it certainly seems as though Leonard's teammates are becoming frustrated by his absence. Perhaps the strongest evidence of that yet, is Tony Parker's comment on Friday. Speaking about his return from a severe quad injury, Parker, who has played 45 games already this season, said his quad injury was "a hundred times worse."
Tony Parker on his return from the career-threatening quad injury he suffered last May: I’ve been through it. It was a rehab for me for eight months. Same kind of injury (as Kawhi), but mine was a hundred times worse. But the same kind of injury. You just stay positive."— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) March 23, 2018
Now, Parker, 35, didn't come out and bash Leonard, or demand he return to the lineup, or anything like that. But the point he's making is pretty clear. He's much older than the 26-year-old Leonard, had a much worse injury and has still played far more games this season.
And those two facts alone don't mean Leonard should or shouldn't be back in the lineup. No two bodies or recoveries are the same. However, it's easy to understand how this situation would be frustrating from Parker's perspective.