Kawhi Leonard is apparently not walking through that door.
The San Antonio Spurs All-Star is not expected to return to the team for the playoffs, according to multiple reports. Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania reports Leonard remains in New York to work with his own team of doctors on the right quadriceps injury that has hampered him all season:
Leonard has been rehabbing in New York because that is where his medical staff is located, and he has not been cleared by his doctors, league sources said. Time has run short for Leonard — one of the league’s best players when healthy — to make a sensible return to the Spurs, who lost Game 1 of their first-round series to the Golden State Warriors on Saturday. Leonard has made strides recently in training and is focused on regaining his full health, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Leonard’s rehab program in New York has been in collaboration and with the approval of the Spurs’ medical staff, league sources said.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told reporters on Thursday that his team did not expect Leonard to play in the series.
Any notion of Leonard rejoining the team — even as a spectator for the playoff run — seems to be dashed, writes Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News:
Questions about whether Leonard would rejoin the team during the season — even as a spectator — continued to hang over the team on Sunday’s off day.
“You’ll have to ask Kawhi and his group that question,” coach Gregg Popovich said.
At this point, the team is not expecting Leonard to rejoin the team during the series with the Warriors, even as a spectator.
According to league sources, doctors outside the team medical staff have yet to clear the 26-year-old, two-time Defensive Player of the Year, with the recommendation that he continue to sit out.
Popovich indicated Sunday even if Leonard were cleared to play, it is not a given the Spurs would activate him.
“So far they say that he’s not ready to go,” Popovich said. “So we can’t do anything until that happens. Then we would have to decide what’s going on from there.”
Leonard has missed all but nine games this season while nursing right quadriceps tendinopathy, an injury that flared up late in the offseason. He returned to the team’s lineup briefly but has not played since complaining of soreness in his injured thigh following the Spurs‘ home win over Denver on Jan. 13.
Leonard opted to go to New York this week to work with his own team of doctors for the second time this season after first working with them prior to the All-Star break in February. The Spurs‘ medical staff has been present for both of Leonard’s extended stays in New York to stay updated on his progress.
The 6-foot-7 forward has worked out at the NBA Players Association facility in Manhattan during both of his stays in New York.
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report