Kawhi Leonard Has Been Cleared By Doctors to Play, But He is Choosing to Sit Out; The Question Begs Why

Earlier Wednesday, Gregg Popovich updated reporters on the status of Kawhi Leonard stating he would be “surprised” if Leonard returned this season. The circumstance between Kawhi and the Spurs has taken a turn into the unforeseen. The Spurs, who for two decades have been the model of stability in the NBA, seem to be showing cracks in their usually sturdy foundation.

Nursing a quad and shoulder injury, Leonard has sought treatment in New York with the attendance of Spurs staff members.  On some level one has to assume a certain level of distrust has been established among both sides. Having appeared in only 9 games this season, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski expands on why Leonard is sitting out the season despite being cleared by team doctors.

After spending 10 days before the All-Star break in New York consulting with a specialist to gather a second opinion on his right quad injury, All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard bears the burden of determining when he’s prepared to play again, sources told ESPN.

Leonard has been medically cleared to return from the right quad tendinopathy injury, but since shutting down a nine-game return to the San Antonio Spurs that ended Jan. 13, he has elected against returning to the active roster, sources said. If Leonard returns, it will be because he has decided he can manage the pain of the injury, according to the sources.Away from the Spurs to pursue second opinions in New York, Leonard recently utilized the gymnasium inside the National Basketball Players Association headquarters in Manhattan for workouts, league sources told ESPN.

Currently, San Antonio sits in the third spot in the Western Conference.  The absence of Leonard will torpedo any hopes of a post season run to the Finals.

The summer of 2019 looms as a source of apprehension for San Antonio.  At that time, Leonard will have the ability to opt out and seek other suitors.  The drama also contains another layer of uncertainty as Leonard could potentially return prior to playoff action, leaving his role and minutes in murky waters.