Gregg Popovich says Kawhi Leonard left court due to minutes restriction
The highly-anticipated 2017-18 NBA season debut of San Antonio Spurs superstar forward Kawhi Leonard finally came on Tuesday night. Unfortunately, it was spoiled by the Spurs’ 95-89 loss to the lowly Dallas Mavericks.
Although Leonard looked extremely healthy during the time he was in, it was clear San Antonio was playing it safe with the return of their two-time Defensive Player of the Year.
According to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News, head coach Gregg Popovich was extremely pleased with Leonard’s performance and only took him out due to a minutes restriction.
Pop said Kawhi was "wonderful." Said he left court because he reached his limit on minutes.
— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) December 13, 2017
Kawhi Leonard was solid in his first game back for the Spurs, registering 13 points, a block, and a steal in the loss. Furthermore, he shot well by going 50 percent from the field. Needless to say, he made the most of the scarce minutes that were given to him in his season debut.
Gregg Popovich seemed excited at the prospect of having his franchise player back. There has been plenty of speculation as to when Leonard was finally going to return. The Spurs had taken a cautionary route with Leonard while he was nursing his quad for the past few months. That said, it will be interesting to see how long it take for Popovich to remove the minutes restriction.