Kawhi Leonard relationship with Spurs ‘distant, disconnected,' reports say

Leonard has played only 9 games this season as quad injury lingers

By RJ Marquez - Digital Content Curator
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(AP Photo/Darren Abate)

SAN ANTONIO - One of the biggest mysteries surrounding the Spurs 2017-18 regular season has been the health of All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard.

Leonard has played only nine games this season due to an injured right quadriceps. The ailment, plus the lengthy rehab process, has now reportedly caused a rift between Leonard and the front office.

According to ESPN.com, multiple sources describe Leonard and his camp as currently being "distant" and "disconnected" from the organization. 

The report comes after months of treatment for the injury that has sidelined Leonard, and led to frustration from all sides. 

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Spurs general manager RC Buford spoke to ESPN.com about Leonard’s status and denied any issue between the two sides.

"There is no issue between the Spurs organization and Kawhi," Buford told ESPN. "From Day 1 all parties have worked together to find the best solutions to his injury.”

Buford said the injury recovery has been difficult for Leonard, the team and the training staff. Buford added the Spurs have sought outside expertise to help with treatment.

"Historically we've been able to successfully manage injuries. This rehab hasn't been simple and it hasn't gone in a linear fashion,” Buford told ESPN.com.

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Leonard returned to the lineup on Dec. 12 after missing the first 27 games of the season with what the Spurs listed as right quadriceps tendinopathy.

He was placed on a minutes and game restriction upon his return, but the injury rehabilitation was not going as planned.

“He was having pain, like not right after games, but maybe the next day or two,” head coach Gregg Popovich told reporters before the Spurs game at Brooklyn on Jan. 17. “If we err, I’m going to do it on the conservative side.”

The Spurs decided to send Leonard back to San Antonio last week during their three-game road trip to continue treatment.

“We’re not going to screw it up now. We’re just going to keep doing what we do,” Popovich said. “We didn’t feel he was ready. His confidence level wasn’t there, so we decided to give it some more time.”

The Spurs are 30-18 this season without Leonard in the lineup a majority of year. Leonard is out indefinitely with no timetable for a return.

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