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Woj: Kawhi Leonard Deciding to Sit out Despite Medical Clearance

Meanwhile, Gregg Popovich says he’d be “surprised” if the star forward returns to the court this year.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich made a startling revelation on Wednesday afternoon about his injured star Kawhi Leonard. He admitted that he would be “surprised” if Leonard is able to return to the court at any point this season, according to ESPN’s Michel C. Wright:

Wright then elaborated on Pop’s comments:

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski followed up Popovich’s comments with a report that Leonard ultimately holds the decision on when he comes back:

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 Spursthat 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.

After missing the team’s first 27 games, he made his season debut Dec. 12, but he has not played since Jan. 13. Popovich stated last month that Leonard had not re-injured the quad, yet he was still not fully recovered.

Help is apparently on the way, however, as Popovich also indicated that Rudy Gay will be returning from his injured heel. Gay has been out since Dec. 28.

The Spurs are 35-24 on the season and are currently in third place in the Western Conference.