Popovich has 'never' seen quad injury like Leonard's
San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has been around the game for nearly his entire life, yet even he's perplexed by the odd injury that continues to sideline his star player.
Popovich told ESPN's Michael C. Wright that he's "never" seen anything quite like Kawhi Leonard's quad injury, which has held him out of every game this season. Coincidentally, Tony Parker is also dealing with the exact same ailment.
"What's really strange is that Tony has the same injury, but even worse. They had to go operate on his quad tendon and put it back together or whatever they did to it. So to have two guys, that's pretty incredible. I had never seen it before those guys," Popovich said.
Despite being almost a decade older and suffering a more severe version of the same injury, Parker is closer to a return than Leonard. The point guard has logged a handful of G League stints, and Popovich said his return to the Spurs' lineup would be "very soon."
The same cannot be said for Leonard, who hasn't even practiced with the team this season. Wright reports that the two-time Defensive Player of the Year is doing on-court work but has yet to receive clearance to return.
Popovich, as always, gave the murky timeline of "sooner than later" for Leonard's return, although he admitted it's largely a guess.
"It's kind of like being a politician," he added jokingly. "It's all baloney, doesn't mean anything."
Leonard was a leading candidate for Most Valuable Player last season as he scored a career-best 25.5 points per game while leading San Antonio to a 61-win season. He eventually led them to the Western Conference finals, before finally succumbing to a lingering ankle injury after landing on Zaza Pachulia's foot.
In typical Spurs fashion, they've continued their winning ways (11-7) despite losing their best player. Popovich has gotten the best out of Rudy Gay and Kyle Anderson in Leonard's absence, although neither player comes close to replicating what "The Klaw" can deliver.
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