For the first time in months, Kawhi Leonard publicly addressed the media Wednesday at Spurs practice.
Leonard has missed 55 games this season with right quadriceps tendinopathy and was asked about a return date or timetable.
"Soon, I don't have a set date right now," Leonard said. "The progress that I'm making has been great so I have to keep doing what I'm doing."
The Spurs all-star forward said his pain level is diminishing. He's participating in physical contact and is feeling better, with the goal of returning at some point this season.
Kawhi spoke at practice this morning and said he hopes to return soon. #Spurs #KSATsports #NBA pic.twitter.com/aCK9RVNuiR— Larry Ramirez (@LRam2) March 7, 2018
“With taking the right steps,” Leonard said. “I don’t want to take any steps back and aggravate things.”
Leonard's injury recovery and standing with the organization has been well-documented this season.
Reports surfaced earlier this year of a strained and "distant" relationship between Leonard and the Spurs.
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Many of the reports surrounded the frustration the Spurs and Leonard had getting him back on the court.
"I don't feel like nothing was friction," Leonard said. "I talked to Pop every day, he knew what the progressions were. He knew what I was doing the entire time, as well as the front office. We made a group decision so it wasn’t just me saying I’m going to go out and do this.”
When asked if he wants to finish his career as a Spur, Leonard answered, “Yeah, for sure.”
#Spurs news: Kawhi Leonard made it clear, his rehab and recovery was done as a group and he talked to Coach Popovich everyday. Asked if he wants to finish career with Spurs "yeah, for sure" (video via @markmendez ) #KSATsports #KSATnews #GoSpursGo pic.twitter.com/vjPjEWHXLb— RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) March 7, 2018
The Spurs are currently 37-27 and fighting for playoff position in the Western Conference with 18 regular season games remaining.
Leonard said he would not make the road trip to Golden State for San Antonio's next game.
BREAKING #Spurs news: Kawhi Leonard addressed the media today and said he would want to finish his career in San Antonio, adds he will return "soon" and he is practicing with physical contact, goal is still to return this year (pics via @markmendez ) #KSATsports #GoSpursGo pic.twitter.com/dxqCduvlsU— RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) March 7, 2018