The Spurs sit a lowly seventh in the Western Conference, have dropped two in a row and three of their past four, they're about to start another brutal back-to-back hosting Portland and travelling to Dallas after most of their able-bodied stars played ridiculous minutes Wednesday night. And now, there's more bad news. Kawhi Leonard likely has a torn tendon in his shooting hand, according to Gregg Popovich.
Leonard originally hurt his hand in a collision on Dec. 9 at Utah and missed the next two games. He played both ends of a back-to-back at Denver and at Portland after that and apparently re-aggravated the injury. He missed Wednesday's game against Memphis and will quite likely miss a few more.
"I don't know if it's (a matter of) pain tolerance, Popovich asked whether that's what's keeping the reigning Finals MVP from playing. "He's got something torn in there. Some kind of mucked up stuff. There isn't anything broken or anything like that, but there little bits of divots or whatever they call it, a ligament or a tendon or one of those parts of your body that we have in our hands. When the doctors feel comfortable that he can go, that he can handle it pain-wise, I guess that's when he'll play."
Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News got the details from Leonard himself -- the injury is indeed a torn ligament.
Per Kawhi Leonard, he has torn ligament in right hand; must wait for swelling to reside before considering returning— Mike Monroe (@Monroe_SA) December 20, 2014
Popovich wouldn't give a time table for Leonard's return, and said he hasn't spoken to the team's medical staff about it: a statement that should certainly be taken with a grain of salt.
"I stopped talking to them," Popovich said. "All I want to hear from them is when he's ready to go. Anything else doesn't help me or the team much. The only thing that helps us is when he's ready to go. So when they tell me that, that's when I'll want to hear it. Before that, they're just doing what they do."
The news isn't much better for Tony Parker, either. The Spurs' leading scorer will miss his fourth straight game and seventh of eight with what the team is calling a "mild" hamstring strain that seems to be taking its time to mend.
"It just doesn't feel good to him," Popovich said.
Despite having played Thunder-type playoff minutes, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green et al will give it a go tonight. Meanwhile, the Trail Blazers' Nicolas Batum (right wrist and left knee contusion) and Robin Lopez (right hand fracture) will also be out. The Spurs may well send a skeleton crew at Dallas tomorrow to greet Rajon Rondo.
Speaking of Rondo, Pop wasn't interested in fielding my question as to his thoughts on the trade, saying "No thoughts, it doesn't impact what we do," and when I asked about whether he thinks there is such a thing as a selfish passer or a selfish pass, he compared me to a sideline interviewer, saying, "Good thing this isn't the end of the 3rd quarter. Come on, who cares?"