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Kawhi Leonard’s rift with Spurs centered on conflicting diagnosis

Kawhi Leonard

The rift between Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs has been an ongoing issue that has spiraled down and into other NBA front offices, now potentially trigger-ready to pounce on a trade opportunity if one arises.

But first, let’s understand where the disconnect between the 26-year-old star and the team lies.

Leonard notably switched from the recovery process given to him by the team’s doctors and sought a second opinion centered in SportsLab NYC, his place of choice to this day.

According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Michael C. Wright, the difference in diagnosis was the start of this divide — as he was first listed with a deep bone bruise in his quad in March 2016, then listed with a “quad contusion” on the Feb. 6, 2017 injury report, where he was a late scratch before a game. The injury became more apparent during the postseason after falling victim to a wild close-out by Zaza Pachulia of the Golden State Warriors.

“Leonard’s camp has come to believe the issue has more to do with an ossification or hardening in the area where the muscle has been repeatedly bruised and then an atrophying, which in turn affected the tendons connecting the muscle to the knee.

The Spurs have always called the injury quadriceps tendinopathy, which is a disease of the tendon that has a degenerative effect on the muscle by keeping it in a constant state of exhaustion. The treatment course for each diagnosis (a muscle issue vs. a tendon issue) is different, which has become another source of tension in the relationship.”

Leonard’s treatment would also depend on what the diagnosis is, a reason why he still experienced soreness and discomfort after playing nine games this season, only to be shut down indefinitely by the team once again after a 19-point outing against the Denver Nuggets on Jan. 13.