Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard, Gregg Popovich meeting Tuesday for clarity on impending return

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he’ll speak to Kawhi Leonard on Tuesday when the team returns home following its 109-93 loss to the Houston Rockets. It’s expected the club could gain some clarity about the star forward’s potential return to the lineup.
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Leonard’s pending return date hasn’t changed, and is barring a setback from a right quad injury, sources told ESPN. Leonard said last week he planned to return soon from the injury, which has kept him out for all but nine games this season.

A two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Leonard played in those nine games after missing the season’s first 27, but returned to the sideline after playing against the Denver Nuggets on Jan. 13.

Leonard said he has been riding a stationary bike and participating in 3-on-3 drills to simulate the physical contact of games, but he has done so with Spurs staff members, not teammates.
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Leonard admitted that the only way to work himself into proper cardiovascular condition is to actually play in games.

Last season, you could have gotten 17 HR from your catcher with either Realmuto or Robinson Chirinos on your roster. The major difference was that Chirinos did so in 270 fewer plate appearances. He’s locked in as the starter again for Texas, only with the team planning to limit his workload to a maximum of about 120 games. I know people tend to shy away from a player when they hear that word limit but keep in mind Chirinos played in only 88 games last season. This particular limit is actually a huge leap forward in playing time and could easily result in a 25-HR season. — AJ Mass

Austin Barnes’s batting average was 78 points higher than teammate Grandal’s in the second half of last Authentic Owen Daniels Jersey season and that resulted in him holding a 42-to-8 postseason at-bat edge over Grandal. I’ll say that Barnes’ batting eye (second-lowest chase rate among catchers with 100 plate appearances last season) earns him a regular spot in this strong offense sooner than later and that should be enough to make him a fantasy starter when all is said and done. — Kyle Soppe

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