Kawhi Leonard injury update: Star forward out of Spurs' season opener

By @saihoops on
Kawhi Leonard injury update, San Antonio Spurs
May 14, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) reacts after an injury during the third quarter in game one of the Western conference finals of the 2017 NBA Playoffs against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Spurs 113-111. USA TODAY Sports / Kyle Terada

Kawhi Leonard, widely tipped as the favourite to win the MVP award this coming season, won't be taking the court during San Antonio Spurs' opening game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday (Thursday in Australia). The two-time Defensive Player of the Year has missed the entire preseason while rehabilitating tendinopathy in his left quadriceps.  
Gregg Popovich, coach of the Spurs, confirmed Friday that Leonard won't take the court during the season opener. "He won't be available," Popovich said before the team's preseason finale against the Houston Rockets on Friday.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points and 10 rebounds as the Spurs beat the Rockets 106-97. When asked to determine a timeline for Leonard's return, Popovich said, “I don’t gauge it. He’s still rehabbing and when he’s ready, he’ll be ready. I try not to qualify it.”

Kawhi Leonard injury update: Spurs also without Tony Parker

The Spurs are already without starting point guard Tony Parker, who underwent a rehabilitation program in the summer to recover from surgery to his quadriceps tendon. Parker suffered a ruptured quadriceps tendon during the Western Conference semi-finals against the Houston Rockets in May. He is expected to re-join the team as early as November.

Leonard's place will be taken by fourth-year wing Kyle Anderson, who had 13 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists during the Spurs' preseason victory on Friday. The Spurs also have the option of starting offseason acquisition Rudy Gay. However, Popovich is reportedly keen to use Gay as the team's sixth man.

The 26-year-old Leonard missed most of the Western Conference Finals series against the Golden State Warriors after landing awkwardly on his ankle after a collision with big man Zaza Pachulia's foot. Kawhi Leonard is coming off the best season of his career in which he averaged 25.5 points, 3.5 assists and 5.8 rebounds and finished third in the NBA MVP voting. Stay tuned for the latest Kawhi Leonard injury update.