San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, who has played in only nine NBA games this season, will be shut down indefinitely as he continues to battle a tendon problem in his right quadriceps, the team announced on Wednesday.
“He’s given it a shot. He’s frustrated as hell. He wants to play badly. But… we’re going to do it on the side of health and being wise,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
The two-time All-Star, 26, missed the Spurs’ first 27 games of the season because of the issue and has played only intermittently since his return on December 12.
The Spurs, in the official announcement, attempted to talk down the significance of the decision.
“Khawhi has made significant progress and continues to move forward in his rehabilitation,” general manager RC Buford said in a statement.
“This is the best approach for the next steps in his return to play.”
He is averaging 16.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists in only 23.3 minutes over his nine games played.
By comparison, Leonard has logged fewer than 30 minutes per game on only one other occasion since his rookie season (2011-12) and has been a stalwart for San Antonio the past two seasons, averaging more than 33 minutes and 20 points per game.
The Spurs (29-16) face the Nets on Wednesday in Brooklyn without Leonard, who has returned to Texas.