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Gregg Popovich says Kawhi Leonard will play in Game 1

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Carlesimo: Kawhi's health swings competitiveness of WCF (1:32)

P.J. Carlesimo previews the Western Conference finals between the Warriors and Spurs. (1:32)

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Saturday that Kawhi Leonard will play in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday.

Popovich said the All-Star forward was "absolutely" a full participant in practice Saturday.

Leonard hurt his ankle in Game 5 of the conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets on Tuesday. A source told ESPN's Michael C. Wright that Leonard could have played in Game 6 on Thursday night, but the Spurs decided they'd rather have him healthy for Sunday.

Leonard sat out much of the fourth quarter of Game 5 against the Rockets and didn't take the court for overtime after he came down on the foot of James Harden while turning to run up the court with 5 minutes, 37 seconds left in the third quarter.

Leonard, an MVP candidate this season, is averaging 27.8 points and 7.7 rebounds in the playoffs.

"He's a soldier, man. He's a fighter,'' Warriors star Kevin Durant said. "If he's out there, he's not going to make any excuses.''

Information from ESPN's Michael C. Wright was used in this report.