Report: Injury rehab creating rift between Kawhi, Spurs
It appears not everyone is on the same page regarding Kawhi Leonard's recovery.
Disagreements surrounding Leonard's rehab plans for his longstanding right quadriceps injury have reportedly left the San Antonio Spurs forward and his camp feeling "distant" and "disconnected" from the franchise, league sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Michael C. Wright, and Zach Lowe.
Despite the reports, Spurs general manager RC Buford denied that the organization is at odds with its star player.
"There is no issue between the Spurs organization and Kawhi," he told ESPN. "From Day 1 all parties have worked together to find the best solutions to his injury."
Leonard has played in just nine contests this season after missing the first 27 with what has been described as tendinopathy in his right quad. After making his season debut Dec. 12, he failed to play in more than two consecutive games before being suddenly shut down indefinitely on Wednesday.
Buford said Leonard's stalled recovery has even befuddled medical experts, despite Spurs point guard Tony Parker suffering a similar injury earlier in the campaign that head coach Gregg Popovich deemed even worse than Leonard's. Parker returned to the floor in late November and has already played in 22 games.
"We sought outside expertise with the best tendon experts in the world," Buford told ESPN. "It worked beautifully for Tony but it hasn't worked the same for Kawhi."
The 26-year-old forward is averaging 16.2 points and 4.7 rebounds this season.