San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard’s return will be delayed after coach Gregg Popovich said that his star is slowly progressing in his rehabilitation from a quad injury. According to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News, Popovich said Leonard is coming along more slowly in his rehabilitation from the injury that has sidelined him since training camp. “It's just been more difficult for him to get through the rehab routine. His body hasn't reacted the same way,” said Popovich, who refused to provide a clear timetable for Leonard’s return from what they called a “right quadriceps tendinopathy.”

Still a long way to go for Kawhi

Popovich said Leonard’s body hasn’t reacted the same way as Tony Parker, who is recovering from a left quadriceps tendon surgery.

After completing his rehab, Popovich said Leonard will have to go through three-on-three and five-on-five to ensure that he’s physically and mentally ready before taking the court. Earlier, Popovich said that Leonard may be able to hit the court in three weeks after their 112-92 loss to the Golden State Warriors Thursday. The Spurs currently have a 6-4 record, thanks to their outstanding defense that is ranked fifth in points allowed with 100.0 points per game. The Spurs are 26th in terms of offense with an output of 99.9 points per game. Earlier, Leonard was seen limping while boarding a flight to Chicago last month. In the video footage taken by KSAT 12 sports anchor Larry Ramirez, Leonard was noticeably limping and in pain while climbing up the stairs.

Bad news for depleted Spurs

Popovich’s pronouncement was bad news for the Spurs, who are trying to stay afloat in the tough Western Conference until their key players return from injuries. As of now, the Spurs are missing the services of Leonard, Tony Parker, center Joffrey Lauvergne and rookie Derrick White, who suffered a fractured right wrist while playing for their G-League affiliate, the Austin Spurs.

Recently, the Spurs assigned Parker to the Austin Spurs for the second time to continue his rehab. Parker has participated in several practices, but the Spurs remain mum on the exact date of his return from the injury that he sustained during the Western Conference Semifinal against the Houston Rockets. Without Leonard and Parker, the Spurs have been relying on veteran power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, center Pau Gasol, new acquisition Rudy Gay, Manu Ginobili, and young point guard Dejounte Murray.