Kawhi Leonard could return as early as Tuesday

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The San Antonio Spurs star forward could reportedly suit up for the team as early as this coming Tuesday, when they face the Orlando Magic, or on Thursday versus the New Orleans Pelicans should he not suffer any setback, according to Tom Osborn of the San Antonio Express-News.

Leonard has missed all but nine games this season for a Spurs team that is fifth in the Western Conference at 37-28.

The injury followed a sprained ankle that forced Leonard to miss all but the first game of the Spurs' 4-0 loss to the Warriors in last season's Western Conference finals.

The two-time Defensive Player of the Year has been troubled by a quad injury all season.

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Leonard said during the week that he would return to action soon, but he did not give a date. He did not make his season debut until December 12 and he did not play in more than two consecutive games. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said that he "would be surprised" if Leonard would return ahead of April's playoffs.

The Spurs badly need a spark from somewhere to avoid missing out on the playoffs and it could potentially come this week as they look set to welcome back one of the league's best players. Despite making a comeback in December, he only appeared in nine games and was ruled out indefinitely in January as he complained of pain and discomfort.

The San Antonio Spurs can not wait to get back two-time All-Star Kawhi Leonard soon enough if they are to have any chance of extending their National Basketball Association (NBA) record streak of 20 straight play-off appearances.

Last week, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski noted that Leonard returned to San Antonio's practice facility after rehabilitating for several weeks in New York City.

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