Kawhi Leonard could be available as early as Thursday against Pelicans

Report Spurs Kawhi Leonard still'not quite ready to return

Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs stands for a moment of silence for the National Anthem before the game against the Houston Rockets during Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2017 Playoffs on May 7, 2017 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.

Leonard missed the first 27 games of the season before returning to play in San Antonio's loss to the Dallas Mavericks on December 12. He said earlier this week that he planned to return "soon" from the injury, which has kept him out of all but nine games so far this season.

Leonard, 26, missed the team's first 27 games of the season due to right quadriceps tendinopathy before playing December 13.

In nine games, Leonard is averaging 16.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.0 steals.

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Aside from LaMarcus Aldridge and Leonard, veterans Rudy Gay and Pau Gasol are the only other Spurs players who are averaging double digits in scoring this season with 11.3 and 10.7 points per game, respectively.

After a poor start to the second half, and for most of 2018, the Spurs put themselves in playoff jeopardy.

Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard could return as early as Thursday's game with the Pelicans after missing most of the season with a persistent quadriceps injury, ESPN reported on Saturday.

And now comes news of his imminent return, which the Spurs hope will resurrect their hopes of challenging the Rockets and defending champion Warriors for league supremacy.

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