Source: Spurs’ Leonard won’t return Thursday

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard will not play Thursday against the New Orleans Pelicans, according to a source close to the situation.

Yahoo! Sports first reported the news that Leonard wouldn’t play.

ESPN’s Lisa Salters reported on Saturday that Leonard and the Spurs were targeting Thursday’s game if he continued to progress on his recovery from a quadriceps injury that has caused him to miss all but nine games this season.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich would not put a timetable on Leonard’s return, saying on Monday that he would speak with Leonard on Tuesday to evaluate the situation. Leonard and Popovich touched base again Tuesday; the two have remained in daily contact, with the forward inching closer to a possible return.

The Spurs brass also watched Leonard take part in a workout Tuesday at the team’s facilities, according to a source, but the organization’s stance since its last official statement hasn’t changed: The forward remains out indefinitely. Leonard’s return continues to be dependent on his comfort level with managing the injury.

Leonard stepped away from playing to focus on rehabbing the injured quad after a nine-game return to the Spurs that ended on Jan. 13.

Leonard — who received first-team All-NBA honors the previous two seasons — resumed working out in San Antonio on Feb. 27 and is feeling “much better,” according to the source. There remains optimism that he will return this season, the source said.

The Spurs (37-30) have lost 11 of their last 14 and are currently 10th in the Western Conference standings with 15 games remaining. They haven’t missed the playoffs since the 1996-97 season.

Information from ESPN’s Michael C. Wright was used in this report.

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