SAN ANTONIO – Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, a finalist for last season/s NBA MVP award, could be sidelined for the entire preseason as he rehabs for right quadriceps tendinopathy, the team announced Saturday.
Leonard did not play in the Spurs' Silver and Black scrimmage Saturday morning at the AT&T Center, but he walked on the court afterward and signed autographs.
The team initially tweeted that Leonard is expected to miss the 2017 preseason.
But speaking with reporters after the scrimmage, coach Gregg Popovich left open the possibility that Leonard could return later in the preseason.
"We're still rehabbing his thigh," he said. "He'll probably miss the beginning of preseason or a good deal of preseason. We're not going to put a timetable on it. He's working at it. We'll get him back as soon as we can."
Popovich said the injury dates back to last season.
"No, nothing happened this week," he said, referring to workouts at training camp. "It's just from last year, working out things from last year. It's gone a little bit more slowly than we thought."
Tendinopathy is a medical term used to describe inflammation and microtears of a tendon. Most tendon injuries are the result of gradual wear and tear to the tendon from overuse or aging, according to WebMD.com, and can cause pain, stiffness and loss of strength in the affected area.
The Spurs started training camp Tuesday and open their five-game preseason schedule Monday at Sacramento. They play Sacramento again in their preseason opener next Friday night.
Popovich said the injury is not related to the ankle injury that knocked Leonard out of the playoffs last season. Leonard is preparing for his seventh season with San Antonio.
A first-team All-NBA pick last season, Leonard also made the first unit of the All-Defensive team for the third consecutive year after averaging 1.78 steals and 0.74 blocks. He was NBA Defensive Player in 2015 and 2016, and was a finalist last season.
Leonard averaged career-highs of 25.5 points and 3.5 assists to go along with 5.8 rebounds in 33.4 minutes last season. He shot .485 (636-1,311) from the floor, .381 (147-386) from beyond the arc and a personal-best .880 (469-533) from the free-throw line.
The Spurs open the regular season against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Oct. 18 at the AT&T Center.
The Silver and Black finished 61-21 last season and were swept by the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.
Leonard was not available for comment.
INJURY UPDATE: pic.twitter.com/CjZmb7HTFs— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) September 30, 2017