Sources: Spurs star Kawhi Leonard expected to remain out through Thursday

<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/4896/" data-ylk="slk:Kawhi Leonard">Kawhi Leonard</a> hasn’t played since Jan. 13. (AP)
Kawhi Leonard hasn’t played since Jan. 13. (AP)

San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard will remain out through Thursday’s home game against the New Orleans Pelicans because of his lingering right quadriceps injury, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

External optimism had built for Leonard’s potential return this week, but he is expected to remain out and will continue to evaluate his injury for a possible comeback before the season ends, league sources said. Leonard has worked hard to play again, seeking multiple opinions on his quadriceps and working with the Spurs to ensure a healthy return to the court, league sources said. A firm target for his return has yet to be determined.

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Leonard missed the first 27 games of the season with the injury and returned on a limited basis Dec. 12, playing sporadically over the next month. He last played 29 minutes on Jan. 13 and hasn’t returned to the court since.

Last season, Leonard, the 2013-14 NBA Finals MVP, averaged 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.8 steals per game. The two-time All-Star and two-time Defensive Player of the Year is in his seventh season with the Spurs after being drafted No. 15 overall in 2011.

Leonard, 26, has averaged 16.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game for his career.

The Spurs are 37-30 entering Tuesday night’s game against Orlando and battling for a postseason berth with several teams in the Western Conference.

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