Reigning finals MVP Leonard cleared to play Friday vs. Suns

Kawhi Leonard was instrumental in the Spurs' march to the championship a season ago.

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NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard is set to make his season debut for the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night against the Phoenix Suns.

The Spurs made the announcement on Thursday. Leonard missed the final six preseason games and the season-opening win against Dallas because of an infection in his right eye.

The 23-year-old Leonard averaged 12.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.7 steals for the Spurs last season while shooting 52 percent from the field. But he really blossomed in the playoffs as the Spurs rolled to their fifth championship.

In the final three games of San Antonio’s finals victory over Miami, Leonard averaged 23.7 points and 9.3 rebounds and shot 68.6 percent to earn MVP honors.