SAN ANTONIO - Reports surfaced on Thursday morning of a Spurs players-only meeting where teammates implored all-star Kawhi Leonard to return this season.
According to Wojnarowski’s sources, the meeting was led by Tony Parker and some players spoke up to share their frustration and confusion surrounding Leonard’s situation, hoping to also seek some clarity on whether he would return.
The meeting became emotional and tense at times, ESPN reported.
Leonard spoke up and gave reasons as to why he has not felt comfortable about returning to the court.
Danny Green immediately took to Twitter to refute the story, posting it, “couldn’t be more incorrect."
Leonard has played in only nine games this season due to a right quad injury, but ESPN reported the Spurs small forward has recently impressed coaches and teammates in 3-on-3 and 4-on-4 workouts.
Head coach Gregg Popovich said Leonard needed to be cleared by his own medical staff before they would have discussions about his return.
Before Wednesday’s game, Popovich was asked about Leonard not being part of the team’s push for the playoffs.
"It’s the same with a player who’s the 13th man, sitting at the end of the bench," Popovich said. "The more you’re participating, the more you feel like you are part of the deal. But you know anybody who’s injured or sitting on the bench and not playing feels a little bit different, of course, that’s just human nature.”
Popovich was then asked if he’s doing things to reach out to Leonard. "No, I just ignore him, treat him like a pariah, C’mon,” Popovich said jokingly. "He’s a nice guy. I love the kid.”
The Spurs have not shut Leonard down for the year. However, Manu Ginobili said Wednesday the team has to have the mindset the Leonard will not return this season.
"We fell for it a week ago again. I guess you guys made us fall for it," Ginobili said. "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.”
The Spurs are on a five-game win streak and currently in sixth place in the Western Conference standings.
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