San Antonio Spurs veteran Manu Ginobili does not believe star team-mate Kawhi Leonard will return from injury before the end of the NBA season.
Leonard has played just nine games this season as he attempts to rehab from quadriceps tendinopathy.
While there have been multiple reports claiming the All-Star forward is close to coming back from a quad injury, Ginobili and the Spurs are not going to get caught up in a timeline for his return.
"He is not coming back," Manu Ginobili told reporters Wednesday. "For me, he's not coming back because it's not helping [to think Leonard is returning].
"We fell for it a week ago again. I guess you guys made us fall for it. But we have to think that he's not coming back, that we are who we are, and that we got to fight without him."
While the Spurs players are performing like he is not coming back, the front office is refusing to rush his return.
"Until he gets cleared, we can't make a decision on when he's coming back," head coach Gregg Popovich told reporters March 14. "So once he gets cleared, then he and I can sit down and talk and see what we think about an appropriate time to come back. But that clearance has to be obtained first."
The Spurs are 41-30 for the season and in sixth place in the Western Conference playoff race.
San Antonio are still in the hunt for a top-four seeding because of the players they have, not the ones who are on the bench with injuries. They are doing their best to remember that.
"We obviously hope to get [Leonard] back, and he's told us that he has taken control of what he can control rehab-wise and injury-prevention-wise," guard Patty Mills said. "But for us, it's about focusing on what we can on the court.
"Because like we've said before: We've got to move on. We're at a very important part of the season, and we need to attack this part of the season with everything we have and not have anything else weighing on us."
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