SAN ANTONIO – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) -The San Antonio Spurs ruled out star forward Kawhi Leonard for Saturday night’s Game 3 of the Western Conference finals against the Golden State Warriors because of his left ankle injury.
Leonard will miss his second straight game, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich announced during Saturday morning’s shootaround.
“In the end, I guess it’s my decision,” Popovich told reporters. “He’s not thrilled that he’s not playing, but he’s not ready.”
Leonard did not participate in Thursday and Friday workouts but was at the team’s practice facility in preparation for the game at AT&T Center in San Antonio.
“It’s getting better. I’ve been at practice, just watching things. A lot of treatment,” Leonard told reporters Friday. “It’s frustrating. You work all year to get to this point, and (not) being able to help your team win a game or just being able to play, it’s all very frustrating.”
Leonard reinjured his left ankle last Sunday during the second half of San Antonio’s 113-111 loss to the Warriors in Game 1.
The Spurs led by 23 points when Leonard was forced to leave Game 1 in the third quarter. Since then, the Spurs have been outscored 194-133 by the Warriors, who hold a 2-0 series lead. The Spurs were dominated in Game 2 without Leonard as the Warriors easily won 136-100 on Tuesday night.
Leonard originally suffered the ankle injury in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets. Leonard is averaging 27.7 points on 52.5 percent shooting, 7.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists during the postseason.
Jonathon Simmons will start in Leonard’s place. Simmons scored 22 points in 26 minutes in Game 2.