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Kawhi Leonard Out Indefinitely Due to Lingering Pain from Quadriceps Injury

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The San Antonio Spurs will hold All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard out indefinitely due to lingering pain from a quadriceps injury that caused him to miss the first 27 games of the season.

“He didn’t re-injure it or anything. But you know he was having pain, not right after games but maybe the next day,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Wednesday. “… The pain wasn’t dissipating; it wasn’t going in the right direction, it was going the other way.”

Popovich quickly dismissed the idea that Leonard could be out for the remainder of the season due to the tendinopathy in his right quadriceps. Popovich described the Spurs’ decision to sit Leonard as “conservative.”

“You’ve got to be confident in your body to go out there and play at the level that he’s expected to play,” the coach said. “… We didn’t feel he was ready; his confidence level wasn’t there, so we just decided to give it some more time.”

The Spurs initially announced during training camp that Leonard would miss the preseason because of the quadriceps issue, but the recovery process lingered into December, with Popovich admitting in November that the forward was “coming along more slowly” in rehabilitation than the club had hoped.

The two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year has appeared in just nine games this season, as the Spurs have restricted his playing time to ensure a full recovery from the condition that causes pain and weakness in the knee.

Source: Ian Begley and Michael C. Wright of ESPN

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Report: Warriors ‘hopeful’ of Kevin Durant Return in NBA Finals, DeMarcus Cousins Expected to Return

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Warriors forward Kevin Durant (strained right calf) and center DeMarcus Cousins (torn left quadriceps muscle) were evaluated by the team’s medical staff earlier today.

Durant, who has not yet been cleared to begin on-court activities, continues to make good progress with his rehabilitation. At this point, it is unlikely that he will play at the beginning of the 2019 NBA Finals, but it’s hopeful that he could return at some point during the series.

Cousins also continues to make good progress with his rehabilitation and practiced with the team today for the first time since suffering the injury on April 16. It’s anticipated that he will play at some point during the 2019 NBA Finals, but the exact date is to be determined and depends on his progress.

The status for both players will be updated next Wednesday.

Source: Golden State Warriors

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Sources: Trail Blazers, Damian Lillard Expected to Agree to Four-Year Supermax Extension

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Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers are expected to come to terms over the summer on a four-year, $191 million supermax contract extension, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Lillard would officially qualify for the supermax if he’s voted to one of the three All-NBA Teams, which is virtually a lock for the four-time All-Star.

Lillard has two years and approximately $62 million remaining on his current deal. The extension would put him under contract for the next six years, and he’d be 34 years old by the time the deal expires, perhaps solidifying his status as arguably the greatest Trail Blazer of all time.

According to rival executives, a new pact for Lillard would almost certainly include a player option, something the guard bypassed on his previous deal.

Source: Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports

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Sources: Clippers ‘equally dangerous threat to Knicks’ to Sign Kevin Durant in Free Agency

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As for the bigger-picture matter of Durant’s future: I am unafraid to announce, with no trace of hot-takery, that firm predictions about what Durant will do when free agency starts in 40 days are ill-advised.

Within the last month, very smart and plugged-in people I have consulted say that the Los Angeles Clippers have emerged as an equally dangerous threat to the Knicks to sign Durant away from Golden State. And I believe it.

Problem is, at various points during the season, I have heard trusted insiders state with conviction that Durant is already planning to join the Knicks … and then that he is likely to consider the Nets as well … and now that he is eyeing the Clippers just as intently as New York.

It leads one to conclude that maybe the best forecast, at least for the moment, is that nobody but Durant and his business manager Rich Kleiman know.

Source: Marc Stein of The New York Times

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