Kawhi could return to Spurs this week

3:52Play     Could the Spurs really miss the playoffs? With 16 games remaining it's a real possibility

The forward is reportedly in line for a return in Thursday's game against the New Orleans Pelicans but, in the meantime, San Antonio will have to soldier on after losing for the eighth time in 10 games in a 104-94 defeat by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.

The two-time Defensive Player of the Year played in those nine games after missing the season's first 27 games, but returned to the sideline after playing against Denver on January 13.

The 26-year-old missed the first 27 games of the season due to his ailing quad, and after returning to the lineup for nine contests, he landed back on the shelf, having last played on January 13. They're playing well. I've just got to get back.

After a poor start to the second half, and for most of 2018, the Spurs put themselves in playoff jeopardy. He did not make his season debut until December 12 and he did not play in more than two consecutive games. It wasn't long ago that head coach Gregg Popovich said he wouldn't be surprised if Leonard didn't return at all this season.

To say that Kawhi Leonard's season has not gone according to plan is definitely an understatement.

Leonard, 26, also played down reports that his camp had requested a trade out of the Spurs. He is a two-time victor (2015 and 2016) of the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year award.

Considering that Utah is just one game back of the Spurs and has a much easier schedule, the Jazz could still very well surpass them, especially if they remain undefeated in their pair of games between now and when Leonard is set to return while San Antonio is forced to grapple with the Houston Rockets on Monday.

Not to mention that the Western Conference is as loaded and deep as it's ever been.



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