San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, who has not played this season due to an injury, talks with the media before an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, in San Antonio. Leonard is expected to return to play soon. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
SAN ANTONIO — Kawhi Leonard is feeling healthy and will return “soon” from a quadriceps injury that has kept him out all season, but the Spurs All-Star forward does not have a target date for his debut.
“I feel good, soon to come (and) be able to play on the floor,” Leonard said of his return. “It’s been a long wait, but I’m feeling pretty healthy right now.”
Leonard did not play during the preseason and has missed the team’s first 24 games with right quadriceps tendinopathy. He said the injury, which was due to “wear and tear,” began to bother him in the offseason.
Leonard spoke during an unplanned press conference about a half hour prior to San Antonio’s home game against Detroit. It was the first time Leonard has spoken since the team’s media day Sept. 25. He has been participating in practices over the past few weeks, but said he still has a few more steps in his rehabilitation process before returning.
“The next day, how recovery feels, and just based on how I feel is when I’m going to be released to play,” he said.
Leonard finished third in MVP voting last season after averaging a career-high 25.5 points.
“Me not being able to play the game, it was a little frustrating, but my team’s done a great job right now holding their own,” Leonard said. “A lot of people stepped up in the process and it’s going to be great for us in the long run.”
The Spurs have the third best record in the Western Conference despite being without Leonard for the entire season and only having Tony Parker for three games.