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Kawhi Leonard Shoulder Injury Diagnosed as Partial Tear, Says Gregg Popovich

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2018

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the second half in a second-round NBA playoff series basketball game against the Houston Rockets, Monday, May 1, 2017, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard could miss more time after suffering a partial tear in his left shoulder, per Michael C. Wright of ESPN.

Leonard suffered the injury Friday against the Phoenix Suns and was already set to miss Sunday's matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers, but head coach Gregg Popovich said he would miss more time.

"It's too bad," Popovich said, per Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. "He was starting to get back into form a little bit after playing a couple of games."

The team "at this point doesn't think it's serious," and he has not yet been ruled out of the Spurs' game Thursday against the Los Angeles Lakers, per Wright.

Injuries have plagued Leonard recently. He missed the Spurs' first 27 games due to quadriceps tendinopathy, which apparently had been bothering him since the 2016-17 season, per Orsborn. He has only played eight games this season, averaging 15.9 points per game.

The 26-year-old also missed time in the postseason last spring because of a sprained ankle, which in part led to the Spurs' demise in the Western Conference Finals. He has missed at least eight games in each of the past six seasons and averaged just 66.3 games entering this year.

When healthy, Leonard is one of the best all-around players in the NBA. The two-time All-Star is coming off a career year, during which he averaged 25.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game to finish third in MVP voting. He has also won two Defensive Player of the Year awards.

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With both Leonard and veteran Rudy Gay sidelined for the time being, LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol figure to shoulder more of a scoring load for the Spurs.

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