San Antonio Spurs head coach, Gregg Popovich, said star Kawhi Leonard is in the last steps of his months-long rehabilitation from a quadriceps injury and might return soon. According to the San Antonio Express-News, Leonard joined the Spurs on their two-game road swing to complete the “last steps” of his rehabilitation, per Popovich. Leonard participated in two sessions of 5-on-5, going both halfcourt and full, and practiced with the full team for the first time, according to Popovich. “Those are the last steps," said Popovich, who did not provide a clear timetable on Leonard’s return.

However, Popovich said Leonard is beginning to feel a little better when it comes to his playing shape and becoming more confident as he nears his return. Once he feels that he is fit enough to play, Leonard will have to lobby Popovich to allow him to play. For Parker, it took two weeks to convince Popovich to play him. Popovich said he will err on the side of caution regarding his superstar, who was a finalist for the MVP trophy last season.

Popovich lauds LaMarcus Aldridge

In the offseason, the Spurs floated Lamarcus Aldridge as possible trade bait for a top 10 pick. Luckily for Popovich, no one took a bite. Now, the Spurs are relying on Aldridge’s outstanding play while waiting for Leonard’s return.

Currently, the Spurs own a 14-7 record, thanks to Aldridge, who is averaging 23.3 points and 8.2 rebounds in 21 games this season. “He’s gotten us through this period of time without Tony and Kawhi in a wonderful way,” said Popovich, per Michael C. Wright of ESPN. Popovich said the Spurs would be lost without Aldridge, crediting his power forward’s all-around game for the team’s success despite starting the season without Leonard and Parker.

“He’s scoring, he’s playing defense, rebounding, running the floor. We’d really be lost without him,” said Popovich. In their 105-94 win over the Memphis Grizzlies, Aldridge scored a season-high 41 points on 17-of-24 shooting from the field.

Spurs GM credits success to team effort

Spurs general manager RC Buford credited team effort for their success this season.

“The team’s done a terrific job of coming together. A lot of new players,” Buford said, adding that aside from Aldridge, Pau Gasol, Kyle Anderson, Dejounte Murray and Rudy Gay have contributed to the team’s success.“The group has taken care of its responsibilities in a way that puts them in a position to win,” Buford said.