Popovich discusses Kawhi Leonard injury, says ‘rehab coming along more slowly'

Leonard has not played this season

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

SAN ANTONIO – Head coach Gregg Popovich addressed Kawhi Leonard’s injury recovery before the Spurs game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday evening.

Leonard has not played a game this season due to quadriceps tendinopathy to his right leg.

"He’s just coming along more slowly for whatever reason,” Popovich said. “It’s just been more difficult for him to get through the rehab routine so his body hasn’t reacted the same way."

Popovich said Leonard is headed in the right direction, but the rehab has, "just been taking a little bit longer.”

The Spurs have stayed afloat without Leonard, who was an MVP candidate last season, and their starting point guard Tony Parker. They were 6-4 headed into Tuesday night’s game.

Popovich was asked if Leonard will have to go through the same process Parker did of playing 2-on-2, 3-on-3 and then 5-on-5 before he returns for a regular season game.

“Sure, I wouldn’t want him to go right from rehab to jumping on the court," Popovich said. "He has to go 3-on-3, 5-on-5 and feel comfortable because in the end that confidence is what anybody who has been out for any length of time has to get that back. Even if the doctors say you’re ready to go, you’re really not until you’re mentally ready to go.”

Parker has said his target return date is late November. The Spurs have not said when Leonard is expected to return.

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