San Antonio Spurs superstar Kawhi Leonard will not play against the Boston Celtics on Friday but could make his much-awaited return to the court when they take on the Phoenix Suns Saturday. League sources told Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News that Leonard could make his return against the Suns. Sources told Young that Leonard participated in a final workout session Thursday and he will be re-evaluated Friday. If he has no setbacks, Leonard will travel with the team to Phoenix after their showdown with the Celtics and play in the second game of a back-to-back.

Leonard has yet to see action this season due to a right quadriceps tendinopathy that he suffered in the preseason. Last season, Leonard tallied 25.5 points, 5.8 boards, and 3.5 assists per outing and was a finalist for the MVP Award after leading the Spurs to the Western Conference Finals. However, he suffered an ankle injury in Game 1 of the West Finals, causing him to miss the rest of the series and allowing the Golden State Warriors to finish them off via sweep. During Monday’s interview, Leonard said that his return to the court was close. “I’ll be able to play on the floor. It’s been a long wait, but I’m feeling pretty healthy right now,” said Leonard.

Leonard’s return welcome news

Leonard’s expected return will be a welcome news since his backup, Kyle Anderson, went down with a sprained MCL in their loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Based on coach Gregg Popovich’s announcement, Anderson could miss two to three weeks. Anderson ably filled the void left by Leonard, averaging nine points, six rebounds, and three assists in 22 games. He was also a key contributor for the Spurs on defense with 25 steals.

Aldridge powers Spurs past Heat

In their 117-105 win over the Miami Heat, Rudy Gay started anew in Anderson’s place, scoring 16 points on top of seven boards, three assists and three steals as the Spurs improved to 17-8.

LaMarcus Aldridge led the team in scoring with 18 points while six other Spurs scored in double digits. Bryn Forbes scored 17 points, Patty Mills contributed 13 points, Pau Gasol and Danny added 12 points each while Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili chipped in 10 points apiece for the team. San Antonio shot 52.9 percent from the field and made 13-of-25 attempts from beyond the arc for a 52.0 percent clip. Tyler Johnson scored 25 points off the bench, Dion Waiters added 22 and Josh Richardson had 19 for the Heat, who slipped to 11-13.