There is an ongoing rift between the San Antonio Spurs and their superstar Kawhi Leonard over his rehabilitation from a quad injury that has bothered him this season, per Adrian Wojnarowski and Michael C. Wright of ESPN. Leonard missed the first 27 games of the season as he recovered from the quad injury that caused him to miss the preseason. Leonard played nine games this season, averaging 16.2 points and 4.7 rebounds in 23.3 minutes per game. However, the Spurs decided to shut him down for an “indefinite period” to enable him to rehabilitate completely from the quad injury in San Antonio.

The move came after it was reported that Leonard told the Spurs that he wasn't comfortable with his ability to play through the injury. Earlier, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Leonard was not feeling confident in his legs when he was on the floor. “We didn't feel he was ready. His confidence level wasn't there. So we decided to give it some more time,” said Popovich. Early in the season, Leonard’s quad injury worried Popovich as the All-Star was having a hard time recovering, unlike veteran point guard Tony Parker, who responded to the treatment and rehabilitation well.

Leonard distant from the Spurs

Wojnarowski and Wright reported that Leonard and his camp have been “distant” and “disconnected” from the Spurs while he tries to fully recover from the injury.

However, the report did not provide details on how Leonard has kept his distance from the team. Talking to Wojnarowski and Wright, Spurs general manager R.C. Buford denied the report, saying there is no issue between Leonard and the Spurs organization, saying they are working together to find a perfect solution to the injury.

Buford admitted that the process has been difficult for everyone, especially Leonard, who has emerged as the Spurs’ elite-level player in the past seasons. Last season, Leonard was a finalist for the MVP Award, losing to eventual winner Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Despite Leonard’s absence, the Spurs remain as one of the powerhouse teams in the Western Conference, carrying a 30-18 record.

Leonard can sign maximum deal with Spurs

In 2015, Leonard agreed to a five-year, $94.3 million maximum contract with the Spurs. However, he is eligible to sign a five-year maximum deal worth $217 million in 2018 after being named to the All-NBA Team during the 2016-17 season, per 247Sports. Leonard is scheduled to earn $20 million next season, but he has a player option for the 2019-20 season. If he declines the player option, Leonard could ask for the maximum deal from the Spurs, if he wants to remain with the team.