SAN ANTONIO – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – The San Antonio Spurs, on the brink of elimination down 3-0, likely will be without star forward Kawhi Leonard for Monday night’s Game 4 of the Western Conference finals against the Golden State Warriors.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told reporters Sunday the MVP candidate is “likely out” for a third straight game after Leonard reinjured his left ankle in the series opener. Popovich also said forward David Lee (knee) is expected to miss the game.
Leonard aggravated the ankle injury when he landed on Warriors center Zaza Pachulia’s foot after taking a jump shot early in the third quarter of Game 1 last Sunday.
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 314-241 by the Warriors.
San Antonio was dominated in Game 2 without Leonard as Golden State won 136-100 on Tuesday night and the Warriors followed up to beat the injury-riddled Spurs 120-108 on Saturday night to take a 3-0 series lead. 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 started in Leonard’s place. Simmons scored 22 points in 26 minutes in Game 2 and 14 points in 34 minutes in Game 3.
Lee underwent an MRI exam and was found to have a partially torn patellar tendon. It is possible that he injury will require surgery.
Popovich downplayed the injury earlier Sunday.”He’s probably not gonna play, but I don’t think it’s serious,” Popovich said. “… It didn’t really swell up, it just got stiff. So he’ll probably be out.” Lee suffered the injury during Saturday’s loss.