The San Antonio Spurs have been dealt another injury blow following the news that Kawhi Leonard sustained a non-displaced fracture in his right hand during the first half of his team's defeat to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Leonard's injury means Gregg Popovich now has three of his starts sidelined for the foreseeable future, with Danny Green and Tiago Splitter still on the injury list.
Leonard's injury is a similar problem to the one that is currently sidelining Green, with both players expected to be out of action for as long as a month. Green has a similar injury and is also expected to miss a month. While the loss of his starting small forward and shooting guard would have been tough enough for the Spurs to overcome in a postseason, starting centre Tiago Splitter has also been ruled out of action for a significant spell of time with his shoulder injury, something that is likely to affect their standing in the Unibet odds.
After remaining relatively healthy in reaching the NBA Finals last season, the Spurs have been dumped a bucketful of injury problems at a crucial part of the season. As well as the sidelined trio, Popovich has also seen Tony Parker struggle with a bruised shin in recent weeks and long-range shooting forward Matt Bonner forced to wear a mask after suffering a broken nose against the Portland Trail Blazers.
"Well I feel two things (about the injuries)," said Popovich. "For one, I'm disappointed for the team, because this is a time when we always try to make hay. During and after the All-Star break has always been good for us, so it's a blow."
"But secondly, I'm strangely excited about playing the other guys and watching them fill in. I think it steps up the energy a little bit, because your back's against the wall. You just look at it a different way. That's kind of exciting."