Last week, ESPN reported that Kawhi Leonard could be ready to return to the Spurs lineup as soon as last Thursday.
Speculation about Leonard’s status and health have swirled all season, and the reports pointing to his return after coach Gregg Popovich said not to expect him back on top of reports of strife with the team were cause for optimism in San Antonio.
Leonard still has not played. And Manu Ginobili appears to be fed up with the roller coaster. He basically told reporters on Wednesday that he’ll believe that Leonard is coming back when he sees it.
"We gotta think that he's not coming back…" Manu Ginobili talking about Kawhi Leonard. pic.twitter.com/Vad7Bt7t3V
— Hannah Trippett (@Hannah_Trippett) March 21, 2018
For me he’s not coming back because it’s not helping. We fell for it a week ago again. I guess you guys (media) made us fall for it. But as I said maybe a month ago — I don’t know when it was — we’ve got to think that he’s not coming back, that we are who we are and that we’ve got to fight without him.
Leonard has played in just nine games this season with a lingering quad injury that most did not expect to keep him sidelined this long.
Meanwhile, the Spurs have climbed back into the playoff picture after finding themselves in the rare spot of looking in from the outside just last week. But the playoff race is packed tight, and the team that makes missteps at this point in the season is the team that likely gets left behind.
Ginobili, the definition of a veteran leader, realizes that and appears to be working to keep his teammates focused at crunch time in a season filled with distraction.
It will be great for the Spurs if and when Leonard comes back, but Ginobili is right, here. Getting caught up in the speculation until he does will do no good in San Antonio.
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