The San Antonio Spurs are slowly but surely nearing being completely healthy. Tony Parker is back on the court and Kawhi Leonard appears to be very close to appearing in game action in the very near future.
Leonard has been making progress recently and spoke to the media for the first time all season on Monday, a positive sign that he was closing in on his season debut. On Thursday, Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express News reported sources telling him Leonard and the Spurs were targeting Saturday in Phoenix for his return to action.
According to sources, Leonard participate in a final workout session Thursday. The team will re-evaluate Leonard on Friday. If all goes well, and Leonard feels OK, the two-time Defensive Player of the Year will travel with the team to Phoenix after Friday’s game against Boston to play in the second game of a back-to-back.
The Spurs have impressed to this point without Leonard as he worked his way back from injury, and bringing an MVP candidate into the rotation will certainly bolster the Spurs’ position as one of the West’s top teams. Leonard coming in on the second night of a back-to-back indicates some of what we’re likely to see from San Antonio, at least early on in his return, with regards to handling his workload and keeping him from playing too much.
San Antonio has long been on the forefront of resting players, but this time Leonard sitting out games won’t be simply an effort at injury prevention and keeping someone fresh. Instead, it will be a needed part of his recovery and return to action. In any case, and at whatever level he’s first at in his return, having Leonard back on the court is a huge boost to the Spurs and for the NBA in general, as the league gets back one of its premier players.