While many #San Antonio Spurs fans are excited with the anticipated return of #Kawhi Leonard on Thursday, veteran point guard #Tony Parker said they should not expect the superstar to save the team's playoff hopes.
Popovich revealed Tuesday that the next step rests with Leonard's doctors.
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Leonard, 26, has not played since January 13 as he's dealt with a quad injury that's persisted all season. "But that clearance has to be obtained first".
"That's a negotiation between a player and a coach to figure out what's best", Popovich said.
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Popovich, who explained that the team will continue to err on the side of caution when it comes to Leonard's injury, said he has seen the forward work out but that Leonard "needs a little bit more work". If we're going to err, we're going to err on the conservative side because his career is going to be of paramount importance to us. It was the same way with Tim (Duncan) early on when he hurt a knee one year, and we didn't let him go in the playoffs. They understand the situation that I'm in. As the standings are now, Utah is just one game behind the Spurs over whom they already own the tiebreaker considering that they've gone 3-0 against them this year. Before the team's matchup against the Orlando Magic Tuesday night, Popovich told reporters that Leonard is "frustrated" that he can't play yet. Aldridge has largely contributed to the success that the Spurs have had this season despite their struggles, but he is not the only player that has helped. In the aftermath of the All-Star break, there was legitimate fears that Leonard, the 2014 NBA Finals MVP, would miss the remainder of the season.
You can catch the Spurs on Thursday night, March 15th, as they face the New Orleans Pelicans at home at 8:30 pm Eastern Time.
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