NBA notes: Spurs star Kawhi Leonard to miss preseason because of thigh injury

Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard talks to coach Gregg Popovich during a game last season in San Antonio.
(Ronald Cortes / Getty Images)

Kawhi Leonard’s lingering thigh injury has the San Antonio Spurs’ season off to an ominous start.

Leonard will miss the entire preseason while rehabbing an injury to his right quadriceps, the Spurs announced Saturday. There is no definitive timetable for his return.

Coach Gregg Popovich told reporters in San Antonio that the thigh has bothered Leonard since the playoffs. The two-time All-Star and two-time defensive player of the year has been working on rehabilitation all summer but is still not ready to get on the court.


“It’s just from last year, working on things from last year,” Popovich said . “It’s gone a little more slowly than we thought.”

Leonard averaged 25.5 points and 5.8 rebounds for the Spurs last season. He was voted first team All-NBA, first team All-Defense and finished third in the MVP voting behind Russell Westbrook and James Harden.

The Spurs said it was quadriceps tendinopathy, a condition that can cause the tendon to tire with overuse. Leonard did not participate in a team scrimmage Saturday that was open to the public.

“It’s all about coach wanting him to be 100 percent and ready to be Kawhi on both ends of floor,” point guard Dejounte Murray said.

In other NBA news:

-- Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert received “vile, disgusting” voicemails after LeBron James called President Donald Trump a “bum” on Twitter. Gilbert said he was flooded with phone messages when the NBA’s most celebrated player criticized Trump for rescinding a White House invitation to Golden State’s Stephen Curry to honor the team’s NBA championship. “I received voicemails after LeBron tweeted that were some of the most vile, disgusting, racist,” Gilbert said Friday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box. “There’s an element of racism that I didn’t even realize existed in this country this much.”

-- James remains sidelined because a sprained left ankle and the Cavaliers plan to keep him out of an upcoming scrimmage. James hasn’t practiced since Wednesday, when he rolled his ankle during the team’s second training-camp workout that day. X-rays were negative, and James has been getting treatment. Coach Tyronn Lue says he is day to day. Lue says the three-time NBA champion stepped on a teammates’ foot while running up the floor. James will not play in Monday’s Wine & Gold Scrimmage at Quicken Loans Arena. Lue says that “wouldn’t be smart,”