Kawhi Leonard has partial tear in left shoulder

The San Antonio Spurs have managed to put together a 27-13 record despite being without last year’s NBA MVP finalist, Kawhi Leonard, for the majority of the season.

It now appears that Leonard will miss even more time, as Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said that his All-Star forward has a tear in his shoulder. Leonard had already been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers. According to ESPN’s Michael C. Wright, the Spurs aren’t too concerned about the injury and they hope Leonard will be able to play on Thursday against the Lakers.

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“It’s too bad,” Popovich said, per Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. “He was starting to get back into form a little bit after playing a couple of games.”

Injuries have plagued Leonard recently. He missed the Spurs’ first 27 games due to quadriceps tendinopathy, which apparently had been bothering him since the 2016-17 season, per Orsborn. He has only played eight games this season, averaging 15.9 points per game.

The 26-year-old also missed time in the postseason last spring because of a sprained ankle, which in part led to the Spurs’ demise in the Western Conference Finals. He has missed at least eight games in each of the past six seasons and averaged just 66.3 games entering this year.

Leonard is one of the best all-around players in the NBA. The two-time All-Star is coming off a career year, during which he averaged 25.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game to finish third in MVP voting. He has also won two Defensive Player of the Year awards.

With both Leonard and veteran Rudy Gay sidelined for the time being, LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol figure to shoulder more of a scoring load for the Spurs.

Leonard sustained the injury during the Spurs’ 103-89 win Friday over the Phoenix Suns. The game against the Suns was just Leonard’s eighth appearance of the season after missing the first 27 games with right quadriceps tendinopathy. Leonard had 21 points and three rebounds in 29 minutes against Phoenix.

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