The San Antonio Spurs cannot blame superstar Kawhi Leonard for taking his time recovering from his quad injury, according to several NBA executives. Vincent Goodwill of Bleacher Report reported that in his meeting with several NBA executives, who requested anonymity, they believe that Leonard is right in taking care of his quad injury rather than returning to action sooner. One Western Conference executive told Goodwill that Leonard might end up like Los Angeles Lakers point guard Isaiah Thomas, who returned to action immediately after getting the go-ahead from team doctors.

Thomas was undergoing rehabilitation on his injured hip when the Boston Celtics traded him to the Cleveland Cavaliers, along with Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, the Brooklyn Nets’ unconditional 2018 first-round pick and a 2020 second-round pick for Kyrie Irving.

Thomas missed early part of season

Thomas missed the early part of the season as he recovered from the hip injury. Thomas was not his old self when he returned, averaging just 14.7 points in 15 games with the Cavaliers before he was traded to the Lakers. Thomas suited up 17 games for the Lakers, averaging 15.6 points, 2.1 rebounds and 5.0 assists, before he underwent a season-ending surgery on his troublesome hip. The Western Conference executive insisted that Thomas lost a lot of money by coming out and trying to play.

Thomas was scheduled to get a maximum deal before he was injured. Leonard played just nine games this season before he was sidelined indefinitely by the Spurs.

Grant Hill’s career was derailed by injury

One Eastern Conference executive said Leonard is merely trying to avoid the fate suffered by Grant Hill, who played through an ankle injury with the Detroit Pistons.

While he got a lucrative deal from the Orlando Magic, Hill played just 200 games in six seasons with the team. “If you rush him, you end up with Grant Hill in Orlando,” the executive warned. The executive added that the Spurs should not punish Kawhi for getting a second opinion from his own doctors, despite getting clearance from team doctors.

“For peace of mind. We’re confident in our ability as an organization, we encourage that,” the executive said.

When asked about Leonard’s status in the playoffs, coach Gregg Popovich said the superstar has yet to get a go-signal from his team. Leonard is currently rehabilitating in New York City with his own medical team, but he’s accompanied by Spurs personnel. Leonard needs to keep himself healthy as he is eligible to sign a supermax contract extension this summer. Leonard’s new deal is expected to surpass the five-year, $201 million contract signed by Stephen Curry with the Golden State Warriors. However, there are rumors that Leonard might be traded in the offseason.