"He's trying to get well", Popovich added.
For the second time, he made a decision to leave the team and travel to New York City to rehabilitate his quad injury.
Leonard has missed all but nine games this season while nursing right quadriceps tendinopathy, an injury that flared up late in the offseason.
This is the second time this season Leonard has travelled to NY. The departure comes after reportedly increased tensions between Leonard, the Spurs organization, and teammates as a result of his disconnect with the team and several near-returns. Leonard has been in the care of his own medical team since then, and no timetable has been set for his return.
The reporter then noted that even if the Spurs ultimately gives him a supermax extension this summer, the possibility of Leonard getting traded is still there as soon as he becomes trade-eligible in September of next year.
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"I don't know when he and his group are going to feel like they are ready to go", Popovich told reporters. "If I knew, he'd be here".
"Sometimes you feel like an alien to the core group and you've got to fight through it", Ginobili said. The playoffs are an open question, assuming the Spurs make it in. He has only played in nine games after missing the first 27, and hasn't played since he was shut down in January. Of course, that's the objective, to get well.
The Spurs are 44-32 and fourth in the Western Conference playoff standings. He is averaging 16.2 points and 4.7 rebounds.
Leonard, 26, is a two-time All-NBA Defensive Player of the Year, two-time Defensive Player of the Year and MVP of the 2014 NBA Finals.
Leonard showed up for a team picture on March 17 and the other San Antonio players held an impromptu meeting with him.