Kawhi Leonard choosing to sit out despite being medically cleared

There is mysterious rift between the Spurs and Kawhi Leonard, and Stephen A. Smith says it may involve a messy family situation

Leonard has been battling a quad injury and hasn't suited up for San Antonio since January 13, appearing in just nine total games so far. Despite that improvement, Leonard continues to hold himself out of action.

At this stage, the decision to play will be decided by the player himself and if he chooses to play, it'll mean he's decided he can manage the pain of the injury, sources told Woj. Leonard was reportedly cleared by the Spurs medical staff but the All-NBA forward sought a second opinion after getting the approval of the organisation.

Obviously, the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors are the cream of the crop and the surefire teams that Utah would want to avoid by finishing higher than seventh place.

"Kawhi, I'll be surprised if he returns this season", Popovich told reporters on Wednesday. The uncertainty surrounding this season - and Leonard's future which could include free agency in the summer of 2019 - has inspired a palpable stress around the organization, league sources said.

Leonard can opt-out of his five-year, $90 million contract after the 2018-19 season. The rest of the season will be missing a talented, exciting player who offers an amusingly stone-faced foil to the NBA's more exuberant stars. And would anyone be surprised if that came next?

The Spurs have had an undeniable dynasty, having made the playoffs every year since 1998 when they drafted Tim Duncan.

Asked to clarify why he feels that way, Popovich said, "Well, we only have X number of games left in the season and he's still not ready to go".

As I mentioned, the Jazz have gone 3-0 against them in the regular season. The team has continued without their best player, and it's a testament to the coaching acumen of the legendary Pop.

According to Michael C. Wright of ESPN, the San Antonio Spurs will finally get back the services of small forward Rudy Gay for Friday night's road game against the Denver Nuggets.

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