The San Antonio Spurs are going to try and fight off elimination without their best player. According to Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, Kawhi Leonard‘s ankle will keep him out of the team’s must-win Game 4 against the Golden State Warriors. Popovich broke the news to the press prior to the game.
If San Antonio is not able to come up with a fairly surprising win to extend the series and give him another chance to play, it would be a rough ending to a fantastic season for Leonard. The Spurs star earned a well-deserved spot on the All-NBA first team and became a finalist for the league MVP award.
Leonard suffered an ankle injury during Game 1 of the team’s Western Conference Finals series when he landed awkwardly on Zaza Pachulia’s foot. While there was optimism that he could return later in the series, that hasn’t been the case through four games.
It was assumed that the Spurs would need Leonard to play out of his mind if they were to take down the Warriors. For the first two and a half quarters of Game 1, this looked like it was the case, as the Spurs opened up a massive lead on Golden State’s floor. But since Leonard’s injury, the Warriors have just bombarded San Antonio.
Seeing anyone’s season end due to an injury is unfortunate, and if Golden State wins on Monday night, it will be an unceremonious end to a spectacular year for Leonard. Sadly we may never know what the Spurs would have been able to do with Leonard on the floor in this series, and if that’s the case, we’ll have to wait until next season for the epic Spurs-Warriors Western Conference Finals matchup that hoops fans have wanted for so long.