Kawhi Leonard returns to NY for rehab

Mar 2 2018 Washington DC USA Washington Wizards guard John Wall looks on from the bench against the Toronto Raptors during the first half at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Asked if Leonard returned to NY to try to get clearance for a return to the lineup this season, Popovich said: "He's trying to get well".

Spurs staff has traveled to NY to meet with Leonard and stay abreast of his treatment and activity, sources said.

"I don't know when he and his group are going to feel like they are ready to go", Popovich said before Sunday's game against Houston.

Leonard opted to go to NY this week to work with his own team of doctors for the second time this season after first working with them prior to the All-Star break in February.

Leonard has worked out at the NBA Players Association facility in Manhattan during both of his stays in NY. The first time came ahead of the February All-Star break, where he spent three weeks nursing his quad injury. "When he and his group feel he's ready, he'll be ready", Pop said, via the Associated Press.

It has created a cloud of uncertainty if he will be able to take the floor in any of the final few regular season games or the playoffs if the Spurs secure a spot. The situation has led to some tension within the organization, with the team holding a players-only meeting last month to clear the air.

"I've been through it", Parker told reporters. "You just try to stay positive".

Even though members of the Spurs staff accompanied him to the Big Apple, it's clear that Leonard and the team have been at odds over his inability to return to the court while San Antonio is engaged in a tight battle to make it into the playoffs. He returned briefly but hasn't played since complaining of soreness in his injured thigh following a January 13 home win against Denver.

Leonard's use of outside doctors reportedly irritated the Spurs and has prompted speculation regarding Leonard's long-term future with the club. In limited minutes in Leonard's nine games this season, he averaged 16.2 points and 4.7 rebounds a game. He also made an extended trip to NY earlier this year as he attempts to heal a troublesome right quadriceps that he hurt in October.

"That's where he's doing his rehab", Popovich said.

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