Kawhi Leonard has drawn fire from nearly all sides for how he handled his injury treatment last season and the end of his tenure with the San Antonio Spurs, but he now has a defender in at least one respect: Danny Green, the player who was traded with him to the Toronto Raptors.
The collapse of Leonard’s relationship with the Spurs revolved around Leonard seeking treatment for his quad injury away from the Spurs’ medical staff, something the Spurs seemed increasingly unhappy about as the season progressed and Leonard continued to miss games.
On his new podcast “Inside the Green Room with Danny Green,” the new Raptors guard revealed he played part of last season with a groin tear, something that went unnoticed by himself and the Spurs medical staff. He also revealed he wishes he had sought out a second opinion.
Danny Green breaks down groin tear treatment with Spurs
Green said he suffered a groin strain while attempting a chasedown block during the Spurs’ win over the Boston Celtics on Dec. 8 last season, an injury which nagged the guard for two months and caused him to miss 10 of the Spurs’ next 17 games. Green said the pain came and went as he rehabbed his way back to the court, at which point Green said his agent suggested he get a second opinion.
When going through the story, Green didn’t profess frustration with the Spurs doctors so much as he said he understood what Leonard was thinking at the time.
I would feel it and they were like, my agent, “Maybe you should get a second opinion.” I didn’t want to because I have full faith and believe in the Spurs staff. They’ve always been great to me, they’ve always done right by me, they’ve always done a hell of a job.
So throughout the season, we’ve monitored it, but we never went back to check on it again because so many other injuries have happened. I could have got a second opinion, so I see where Kawhi is coming from when he’s got his second opinion. Because a lot of times, you’ll get information from outside sources that, not saying that Spurs staff is not up to par, it’s just not that everyone’s a specialist in every area.
When the season ended, Green underwent a physical and MRI, which revealed that the groin strain was still there and had progressed to a small tear. Green said he didn’t know how long he had been playing with it. Again, he did not fault the team doctors, but he did advocate for players getting second opinions from a specialist if the team doesn’t have one on staff.
Second opinion could have helped, but they did a great job. They did everything they could, but I think it would have been nice to see a specialist, just to see if there was another angle, another view. Just because Kawhi got a second opinion, you can’t knock him for that. Everyone should get a second opinion, just to see another perspective.
So it’s obvious that Green thinks Leonard was right getting a second opinion for his injury, but that’s more about the scope of the Spurs medical staff’s expertise than questioning their competency.
How Danny Green’s treatment differs from Kawhi Leonard
While Green said there was nothing wrong with Leonard getting a second opinion for his quad injury, the truth is that Leonard reportedly did a lot more than just that. According to ESPN Spurs reporter Michael Wright, the Spurs actually gave Leonard full autonomy in his rehab starting in Aug. 2017.
It wasn’t that Leonard was getting a second opinion, it was that he was only getting second opinions and had locked out the Spurs from his rehab to the point that he was ghosting a Spurs hall-of-famer and reportedly hid from team officials when they visited him in New York.
Contrast that with Green, who was nothing but complimentary for the Spurs’ staff and only said he wished he had seen a groin specialist, and you can see a pretty large difference between the stories of the two former Spurs and what they thought of the team doctors. Though it’s probably worth wondering why the Spurs didn’t have their starting shooting guard see a groin specialist for what seemed to be a recurring groin injury.
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