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Spurs' Leonard could return this week

San Antonio Spurs All-Star small forward Kawhi Leonard still doesn't know when he will make his season debut.

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But it could occur later this week.

The soft-spoken Leonard has missed the team's first 24 games due to a quadriceps injury and said he is feeling good during his first interaction with reporters since Sept. 25.

"I'm feeling pretty healthy right now," Leonard said. "I think they told you guys (reporters) that I've been playing five-on-five. So that's where I'm at right now. It's been good. Just still, just gotta go through a few more processes of doing that. I should be back soon."

The Spurs have kept their intentions tight to the vest but speculation persists that Leonard could see action in Friday's home game against the Boston Celtics.

But Leonard said there isn't a return date picked out.

"Just whenever," said Leonard, "just based on how I feel is when I'll be released to play."

Part of the issue with Leonard's health is that the quadriceps didn't initially respond to treatment. The original diagnosis was that he would miss the preseason but the games began to count and Leonard was still nowhere in sight.

"Didn't really think about it too much, just focused in on what I had to accomplish, and that's it," Leonard said. "I just took it day-to-day, week-to-week. I was just focused on my injury. Just me not being able to play the game, it was a little frustrating. But my team is doing a great job right now of holding their own.

"A lot of people stepped up in the process, and it's going to be great for us in the long run."

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich sees the situation ending soon and is eager to get the former NBA Finals MVP back in the lineup.

"If I had your job, I'd be asking all the time, too," Popovich told reporters. "He's a great player. If I remember right, it seems like it was forever, but he was first-team All-NBA. I know there's a guy around here someplace I'm missing. I keep looking for him.

Every place we go, we get (asked). I think people would like to see him play. He's a pretty unique dude. And he wants to get back. He doesn't want to be sitting there."

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