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Sources: Kawhi Leonard could be available as early as Thursday against Pelicans

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Spurs in desperate need of Kawhi (0:39)

The Spurs struggled mightily through February and into March. With Kawhi Leonard expected to return soon, San Antonio hopes to turn things around. (0:39)

Kawhi Leonard could be available for the San Antonio Spurs as early as Thursday's game against the New Orleans Pelicans, sources tell ESPN's Lisa Salters.

The plan for Leonard to return is barring a setback from a right quad injury, sources told ESPN. He said earlier this week that he planned to return "soon" from the injury, which has kept him out of all but nine games so far this season.

The two-time Defensive Player of the Year played in those nine games after missing the season's first 27 but returned to the sideline after playing against Denver on Jan. 13.

Leonard has been riding a stationary bike and participating in 3-on-3 drills to simulate the physical contact of games, but he has done so with staff members and "not my players," he said.

The Spurs (37-29) are now seventh in the West after Saturday night's 104-94 loss at Oklahoma City and have struggled of late, going 3-8 in their past 11 games.