The San Antonio Spurs, on the brink of elimination, likely will be without star forward Kawhi Leonard for Monday night's Game Four of the Western Conference finals against the Golden State Warriors, who lead the series 3-0.
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 One last Sunday.
The Spurs led by 23 points when Leonard was forced to leave in the third quarter. Since then, the Spurs have been outscored 314-241 by the Warriors.
Golden State won 136-100 on Tuesday night and the Warriors followed up by beating the injury-riddled Spurs 120-108 on Saturday night.
Leonard originally suffered the ankle injury in Game Five of the Western Conference semi-finals 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 has started in Leonard's place. Simmons scored 22 points in 26 minutes in Game Two and 14 points in 34 minutes in Game Three.
Lee underwent an MRI exam and was found to have a partially torn patellar tendon. It is possible that the injury will require surgery.
Popovich downplayed the injury 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.
(Editing by Gene Cherry)
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