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Kawhi’s Out Indefinitely, Where Does That Leave the Spurs?

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Kawhi Leonard has been ruled out indefinitely while he continues his rehabilitation process from right quadriceps tendinopathy, according to the Spurs’ organization. Gregg Popovich, when asked about it recently, says of Kawhi’s injury, “It hasn’t responded the way we wanted it to.” This is, to say the least, discouraging news for Spurs fans.

Kawhi has appeared in just 9 games this season, averaging 16.2 points 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists in about 23 minutes per game. His best outing came in New York on January 2nd. Against the Knicks, Kawhi played a season-high 30 minutes and scored 25 points to go along with 8 rebounds and 4 assists in a nine point Spurs’ win.

In Kawhi’s absence, Kyle Anderson should continue to start, as he has most of the season so far. San Antonio is also without Rudy Gay, leaving their front court rather depleted. Gay has been out since injuring his heel December 28th against the Knicks, what was supposed to be a two week injury now appears to be still another two weeks away, at best.

San Antonio currently has a half game lead over the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 3 seed in the Western Conference. 1 and 2 are likely set in stone, and Minnesota is four games ahead of the 5 seed Oklahoma City Thunder. The Spurs aren’t in danger of falling far, if they do at all. Minnesota is 7-3 in their last 10, while San Antonio is 5-5.

The T’Wolves are surging and Jimmy Butler has snuck into MVP conversations. Popovich would have to work some serious Spurs’ magic to hold the 3 seed the rest of the way without their superstar swingman. Realistically for San Antonio this season, the 4 or 5 seed may not be too bad. It would likely result in a tough, but winnable, first round matchup; and a chance to potentially “jump” the Warriors in the semifinals rather than squaring off in the Western Conference Finals.

The bright side for San Antonio is that, without Kawhi’s presence offensively, LaMarcus Aldridge is quietly returning to his old self. He’s averaging 22.4 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, and receiving serious All-Star and All-NBA consideration.

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About Preston Dubey

Lifelong basketball fanatic and Bucks' supporter I coach basketball; but I eat, sleep, and breathe the game.

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