No sign of Kawhi at practice Tuesday; Spurs continue to prepare without him

Silver and Black end rough February against surging Pelicans at home.

Spurs All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard was nowhere to be seen on Tuesday when the media was allowed into the team's practice facility, but that doesn't necessarily mean he wasn't in the building.

"I have no information," Manu Ginobili said chuckling after he was asked if he knew Leonard's whereabouts. "I haven't seen anything and I don't know anything more than you guys do."

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ESPN reported on Monday that Leonard was back in San Antonio after spending three weeks in New York, where he sought a second opinion on his lingering quad injury, and is expected to play sometime in March.

"I got the same update you got on my phone," guard Danny Green said after practice, when asked about Leonard's status. "I looked at, 'Oh, Kawhi is coming back.' He's here. You guys might go search the building. He's here. He's around, but I'm not medical staff, so they don't tell me, and I wouldn't know the proper terms of what's in his body."

The status quo remains for the Spurs, Ginobili and Green said.

"As we said last week, we're facing the end of the season as if he's not coming [back]," Ginobili said. "And if he does, awesome. We'll figure it out. We'll to adjust as soon as possible. But at this point, we don't know, so we've just got to keep fighting and keep working hard."

So the Spurs' mindset hasn't changed?

"Yeah, yeah," Ginobili said. "Until we see him playing with us, I think it would be counterproductive to start thinking otherwise."

Leonard has struggled to overcome the tendinopathy in his right quad since the preseason, He made his season debut Dec. 12, but played in only nine games before he was shut down again.

Leonard will go through the same protocol as before, gradually building up the strength in his injured leg to start participating in full workouts.

Asked if he was encouraged to at least see Leonard back at the team's practice facility, Green said: "It's always good to see his face. We see him more often than you guys think we do. He's still around. But updates of what his status is injury-wise and if he's playing, they don't consult with us."

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Green also said the team's mindset has to remain the same as it was last week, when Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told reporters he would be "surprised" if Leonard returned this season.

"It's got to be, it's got to be," Green said. "I mean, it's not like he's going to play with us tomorrow. We've got to play without him. We've got to have that mindset. We can't make excuses [that] we're losing games because he's not here or we're just waiting for him to come back. No, we can't wait for him to come back.

"We've got to play games if he's not here, because he's not here right now. When he comes back, then we'll adapt and adjust mentally. We've got to go on with the attitude and mindset that this is the group that we have, whoever's on the floor that night."

The Spurs (36-25) ended their annual Rodeo Road Trip on a high note Sunday, breaking out of a four-game skid with a 110-94 victory against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

San Antonio has technically slipped to fourth in the Western Conference standings, a half-game behind Minnesota (38-26), but they have fewer losses than the Timberwolves.

The Silver and Black play nine of their 14 games in March at the AT&T Center, although those games will be against tough competition. Those 14 games feature 12 matchups against teams with winning records.

The Spurs have the league's toughest schedule in the stretch run of the season, with 16 of their remaining 21 games against opponents above .500.

Center Pau Gasol (bone bruise, left knee) is doubtful for Wednesday's game, the team reported Tuesday afternoon.