Kawhi Leonard ruled out of game six with ankle injury


The San Antonio Spurs will be without injured All-Star Kawhi Leonard for game six of their Western Conference semi-final against the Houston Rockets.

Leonard wanted to play with the Spurs leading the playoff series 3-2 on Thursday but head coach Gregg Popovich said no.

Popovich wants Leonard, who leads the Spurs in scoring, rebounds and assists in the playoffs, to rest his injured ankle.

"He'd rather play," Popovich succinctly told reporters Thursday. 

Leonard arrived at Houston's Toyota Center with a noticeable limp.

He sat out San Antonio's final possession of regulation and overtime in the Spurs' 110-107 game-five victory on Tuesday.

Jonathon Simmons, who is averaging 6.2 points in almost 18 minutes, will start at small forward.

Leonard is a league MVP candidate after averaging 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists during the regular season.

He increased those numbers to 27.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists during the postseason. 

The Spurs went 7-1 without Leonard during the regular season and Rockets guard James Harden, who is also an MVP candidate, shot just 35 percent from the floor when the San Antonio had Simmons in the line-up.