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Report: Kawhi Leonard not expected to return to San Antonio Spurs for playoffs

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Kawhi Leonard is not walking through that door.

The San Antonio Spurs All-Star is not expected to return to the team for the playoffs, according to a report by Yahoo! Sports Shams Charania

The Spurs were routed in Game 1 of the first round series against the Golden State Warriors, 113-92 on Saturday.

Leonard has missed all but nine games this season while nursing right quadriceps tendinopathy, an injury that flared up late in the offseason. He returned to the team’s lineup briefly but has not played since complaining of soreness in his injured thigh following the Spurs’ home win over Denver on Jan. 13.

Leonard opted to go to New York this week to work with his own team of doctors for the second time this season after first working with them prior to the All-Star break in February. The Spurs’ medical staff has been present for both of Leonard’s extended stays in New York to stay updated on his progress.

The 6-foot-7 forward has worked out at the NBA Players Association facility in Manhattan during both of his stays in New York.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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Report: Westbrook could return Sunday

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Ruled out for tonight’s game with the Clippers, Thunder All-Star Russell Westbrook could return to action Sunday against the Kings, ESPN reported on Friday. 

Westbrook has been sidelined since Sept. 12 after an arthroscopic procedure to treat stiffness and inflammation in his right knee. 

Westbrook averaged 25.4 points, 10.3 assists and 10.1 rebounds last season, his second straight with double-figures in all three categories. He’s been extremely durable during his career, playing at least 80 games in seven of his nine NBA seasons, and all 66 in the shortened 2011-12 campaign. 



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Chasity Melvin joins Hornets’ G League team coaching staff

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Chasity Melvin has been hired by the Charlotte Hornets’ G League team, the Greensboro Swarm, as an assistant coach.

She becomes the first female coach in Hornets and Swarm history.

The former North Carolina State standout was the 11th overall selection in the 1999 WNBA draft. She played 12 seasons in the WNBA and was an All-Star in 2001.

Melvin was part of the NBA Assistant Coaches Program, which prepares current and former NBA, WNBA and G League players for coaching careers. Former program participants include James Posey (Cavaliers), Jerry Stackhouse (Grizzlies) and Vin Baker (Bucks).

Her hire comes one day after Kristy Toliver became the first active WNBA player to become an NBA assistant when she joined the Washington Wizards.

Other female assistants in the NBA include Becky Hammon with the Spurs and Dallas’ Jenny Boucek.

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Dwight Howard out for Wizards season opener with injured back

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WASHINGTON (AP)  — New Washington Wizards center Dwight Howard is sitting out the team’s season opener because of a lower-back injury.

Howard missed all of training camp and Washington’s entire exhibition schedule.

Coach Scott Brooks said before the Wizards hosted the Miami Heat on Thursday night that Ian Mahinmi would replace Howard in the starting lineup.

Brooks said that Howard is “getting close” to being able to play but is not “quite there yet.” The coach is not sure whether Howard will be available for Washington’s next game, at home against the Toronto Raptors on Saturday.

Howard was not absent because of injury even once last season while with the Charlotte Hornets. He played in 81 of 82 games, missing one because of suspension.

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