According to a league source, at this point the organization doesn’t think the injury is serious following the initial diagnosis. Leonard has been ruled out of Sunday night’s game at the Portland Trail Blazers, and the club plans to evaluate Leonard over the next couple days of its current road trip, which continues Monday at the Sacramento Kings and concludes Thursday at the Los Angeles Lakers.
The injury occurred during San Antonio’s 103-89 win Friday over the Phoenix Suns. Popovich wasn’t sure whether Leonard would play at any point during the Spurs’ road trip.
“I don’t know,” Popovich said. “It depends on how his shoulder goes. It’s too bad because he was starting to get back into form a little bit after playing a couple of games.”
The latest setback represents yet another roadblock for Leonard in his return, as he missed the first 27 games of the season rehabilitating from quadriceps tendinopathy. The club has held out Leonard for five games since he returned Dec. 12 as a component of what it has called “return from injury management.”
In perhaps his most dominant performance to date, Leonard played 29 minutes in Friday’s win over the Suns, scoring 21 points to go with three rebounds and three assists. Defensively, Leonard flashed the skill set that earned him two NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards by notching four steals and three blocks, marking the first time since the 2016 playoffs that he had put up such numbers on defense.