"Kawhi is back tonight."
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has announced that All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard will be making his season debut tonight against the Dallas Mavericks. Kawhi will be on a minutes restriction, similar to the way Pop handled Tony Parker's return.
He has been recovering from quadriceps tendinopathy, which is the same injury that sidelined Tony Parker for the start of the season. When Parker returned, he was limited to just 14 minutes, which is what fans should expect from Kawhi tonight as he gets back into the groove.
"Any team would like to have one of their best players back. That's fairly logical," Popovich said. "The team's been playing well. We hope that it'll continue as Tony and Kawhi get more minutes. There will be adjustments all the way around. Minutes will be different for different players. Just typical, it's not that complicated."
The 26-year old forward averaged career highs in scoring, 25.5 points per game, and assists 3.5 per game last season, but has not played a game for since Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.
In 27 games without Leonard this season, the Spurs are 19-8 which is good enough for third in the Western Conference, just 2.5 games behind the Warriors and three back of the 21-4 Houston Rockets.