San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard has been declared out and point guard Tony Parker is listed as questionable for Saturday’s Western Conference showdown against the Golden State Warriors, according to a report by ESPN’s Michael C. Wright.
Leonard is undergoing a concussion protocol after taking an accidental blow to the head by a driving Victor Oladipo during last night’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The team later clarified he was hit on the cheek/mouth area and could miss more than one game during his recovery period.
Parker, who did not play Thursday due to back stiffness is still recovering from the injury. In his place, rookie Dejounte Murray is likely to get the start like he did against OKC, with Patty Mills bringing the scoring punch off the bench.
The Spurs are in a critical position to battle for the No. 1 seed after the Warriors’ recent struggles, as they’ve gone 2-3 without their leading scorer Kevin Durant, who is out with an MCL strain and a bone bruise in his left knee.
San Antonio was riding a nine-game winning streak before losing to the Thunder 102-92 after Leonard’s injury. Gregg Popovich‘s team will have to make the most of LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol to torment a vertically-challenged Golden State team, making most of their damage in the paint.
On the bright side, the Spurs will count on a fresh Manu Ginobili, who had a rest day on Thursday — the team is currently two games back from the West-leading Warriors.
Both teams will meet on Saturday at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, a game which will be televised at 5:30 p.m. PT on ABC.