Kawhi Leonard’s continued injury problems suggest all is not well in Camelot, er Texas.
A rift between the San Antonio Spurs star and his team has emerged in recent weeks over his ongoing rehabilitation from a quadriceps injury, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Michael C. Wright reported Monday, citing NBA sources. Leonard reportedly has become “distant” and “disconnected” from the Spurs due to differences in his recovery regiment and timetable for returning to full fitness.
Leonard has played just nine games this season as he tries to recover from the right-leg injury the Spurs first revealed Sept. 30.Â San Antonio sent him home last week from a road trip and shut him down indefinitely, with president and head coach Gregg Popovich claiming the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year needed more time to restore his confidence.
Spurs general manager R.C. Buford denied rumors of discord with Leonard on Monday.
“There is no issue between the Spurs organization and Kawhi,” Buford told ESPN. “From Day 1 all parties have worked together to find the best solutions to his injury.
“This has been difficult for everyone. It’s been difficult for Kawhi. He’s an elite-level player. It’s been difficult for the team, because they want to play with a great teammate. And it’s been difficult for our staff. Historically we’ve been able to successfully manage injuries. This rehab hasn’t been simple, and it hasn’t gone in a linear fashion.”
Despite whatever is going on behind the scenes, San Antonio has thrived in Leonard’s absence, going 25-14 without him and 30-18 overall.