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“He’s gonna be back sooner rather than later,” Popovich said Tuesday, per Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News.
Leonard has not played yet this season while dealing with a quadriceps tendinopathy.
The injury—which was apparently left over from last season—was expected to keep him out during the preseason but there is still no timetable for return almost a month into the regular season.
Popovich didn’t have any answers when asked about the situation earlier this month.
“He’s just coming along more slowly for whatever reason,” the coach said, per Michael C. Wright of ESPN. “It’s just been more difficult for him to get through the rehab routine.”
The Spurs have rallied without Leonard and injured point guard Tony Parker to begin the year with an 8-5 record.
While San Antonio is certain to remain patient with its most important player, the squad will hope the 26-year-old will return to the court as soon as possible. Leonard averaged 25.5 points per game last season and is a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, making him one of the top overall players in the sport.
Kyle Anderson and Rudy Gay have helped the team with Leonard unavailable, but neither can match his impact on either end of the court.