Kawhi Leonard Diagnosed with Sprained Ankle, Doubtful for Game 2 vs. Warriors

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 15, 2017

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) and forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) walk uproot during the second half of Game 5 in a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Houston Rockets, Tuesday, May 9, 2017, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

The San Antonio Spurs announced Monday that Kawhi Leonard is doubtful for Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday against the Golden State Warriors because of a sprained left ankle.

According to ESPN.com's Michael C. Wright, Leonard underwent an MRI Monday, which didn't reveal any structural damage.

Leonard aggravated the ankle injury after landing on the foot of Warriors big man Zaza Pachulia during Sunday's Game 1:

Upon losing Leonard, the Spurs crumbled in the second half and lost 113-111:

Pachulia's role in Leonard getting hurt has been a frequent topic of discussion in the aftermath of Game 1. Head coach Gregg Popovich didn't mince words when offering his opinion of the 33-year-old center, courtesy of the San Antonio Express-News' Jabari Young:

Whether Pachulia intended to injure Leonard or if the play was dirty will be debated long after the playoffs end. Leonard's importance to the Spurs isn't up for debate.

San Antonio is already without Tony Parker, who sufferedruptured left quadriceps tendon in the second round against the Houston Rockets, and 39-year-old Manu Ginobili is coming off the worst regular season of his NBA career.

The Spurs are relying on Jonathon Simmons and Patty Mills to play key roles—not an ideal scenario when facing off with the Warriors.

Even if Leonard is healthy enough to suit up for Game 2, San Antonio is still a big underdog to the Warriors. 

Having Leonard on the floor is the only hope for the Spurs to advance to the NBA Finals. It's not as if fans have discounted Leonard's talent or value to his team, but the playoffs have further illustrated how good he is and how much worse off San Antonio is without him.