Kawhi Leonard: Could return vs. Pelicans

Kawhi Leonard: Could return vs. Pelicans

The San Antonio Spurs can not wait to get back two-time All-Star Kawhi Leonard soon enough if they are to have any chance of extending their National Basketball Association (NBA) record streak of 20 straight play-off appearances.

Leonard, a top three finisher in the past two Kia MVP voting and cornerstone of the Spurs' post-Tim Duncan era, has played in just nine of their 63 games this season while dealing with quadriceps tendinopathy in his right leg.

Leonard missed the first 27 games of the season before returning to play in San Antonio's loss to the Dallas Mavericks on December 12.

Leonard, the 2014 Finals MVP and two-time Defensive Player of the Year, was first revealed to be injured in training camp. His lengthy bouts with injury have kept him sidelined for all but nine games this season and while the Spurs held on early, they've tumbled all the way to seventh in the West, just one game ahead of the tenth place Utah Jazz.

ESPN's Lisa Salters and Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Saturday that Leonard could return to the Spurs as early as Thursday.

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Russell Westbrook notched his 19th triple-double of the term with 21 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists and the Thunder bench poured in 50 points as they improved to 6-3 since the All-Star break.

At this point, the Spurs aren't a guarantee for the playoffs.

Leonard said during the week that he would return to action soon, but he did not give a date. Playoffs and the Spurs seem intertwined and an assumed part of every season, especially with Gregg Popovich as the head coach.

And now comes news of his imminent return, which the Spurs hope will resurrect their hopes of challenging the Rockets and defending champion Warriors for league supremacy.

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