Report: Kawhi won't return Thursday vs. Pelicans
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports / Action Images

Kawhi Leonard will not return from his quadriceps injury Thursday against the New Orleans Pelicans as reportedly hoped, sources told Yahoo Sports' Shams Charania.

The San Antonio Spurs star, who has played just nine games this season, will "continue evaluating" the injury as he plans for a future return, according to Charania.

Leonard is feeling "much better," and there's still optimism that he'll return before the end of the season, but he's not quite ready yet, sources told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.

Leonard and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich had planned to meet at some point Tuesday to discuss Leonard's readiness to play. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year has reportedly been cleared by the Spurs' medical staff for some time but hasn't felt confident enough in his physical preparedness. Returning to action in December, after all, landed him back on the shelf in short order.

The whole situation has reportedly put a strain on the relationship between team and player, and Popovich told reporters last month he'd be surprised if Leonard played again this season.

Meanwhile, the Spurs have lost 11 of their last 14 games to fall out of the Western Conference's top eight, and are in very real danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 1997, the year they tanked to draft Tim Duncan.

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Report: Kawhi won't return Thursday vs. Pelicans
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