Kawhi Leonard targeting Tuesday return

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard answers questions from the media before the game with the Detroit Pistons Monday Dec. 4 2017 at the AT&T Center

The San Antonio Spurs are targeting Saturday's road matchup against the Phoenix Suns as the date to bring back star forward Kawhi Leonard, according to sources, but a firm decision on that hasn't yet been made.

SAN ANTONIO - A sense of excitement and relief filled the Spurs practice facility Friday morning as the team prepared for the return of injured franchise player Kawhi Leonard. Despite the absence of superstar forward Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs now sit at 17-8, good for third place in the powerhouse Western Conference. Rudy Gay and LaMarcus Aldridge will continue to carry the load until his return.

A two-time NBA All-Star and two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Leonard averaged career highs in points (25.5) and assists (3.5) last season, while also averaging 1.8 steals.

That timeline just got a bit longer, but hopefully not more complicated, as the Spurs pushed back Leonard's debut to at least Tuesday. "A lot of people stepped up in the process, and it's going to be great for us in the long run". "But for sure we need him if we want to have hopes of being the last team standing".

Leonard has not played so far this season.

ABOUT THE SUNS (9-18): With Devin Booker (24.3 points) expected to miss 2-3 weeks with a left groin strain, Phoenix added swingman Danuel House, who averaged 17.7 points and 6.3 rebounds in 15 games with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the G League. Like I said, they are not going to take any risks. "But (Leonard) is one of those guys with big shoes to fill". LaMarcus Aldridge tallied 27 points and 10 rebounds for his eighth 20-10 outing of the season after recording only three such games a year ago, while Pau Gasol had 14 points and 11 boards to remain the only Spur to play and start in every game this season. The Spurs are 5-0 in game Parker has played in since he returned. "He looks fast and he looks strong, so we are thrilled to see him slowly increasing his minutes and doing good and feeling happy and optimistic".

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