Kawhi Leonard's comeback remains on hold until cleared by team doctors and Coach Gregg Popovich, but some say the decision already has been made to bring him back to the lineup.
ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski says Leonard will play next Tuesday when the Spurs face the Mavericks in Dallas.
Leonard has not played so far this season.
Speaking before Monday night's game against Detroit at the AT&T Center, Leonard said he is close to returning.
"I feel good," Leonard said. "It's soon to come that I'll be able to play on the floor. I'm feeling pretty healthy right now."
Leonard said Monday he has been playing five-on-five in workouts, but still hadn't been cleared to play by doctors.
"That's where I'm at right now," Kawhi said, referring to playing five-on-five. "It's been good. Still, I've got to go through a few more processes and I should be back soon."
Leonard said he didn't think much about how long he would be out when he was shelved before training camp. "Just focused in on what I had to accomplish (in his rehab work), and that's it right now."
Leonard has been sidelined with tendinopathy in his right quadriceps since before the start of training camp.
The injury has lingered since last season, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said when the team announced Leonard would miss the preseason. But Leonard’s rehab went longer than expected, fueling speculation that the injury was more serious than initially 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.