Fans should be “cautiously optimistic” Spurs franchise player Kawhi Leonard will return to the court sooner rather than later, as coach Gregg Popovich recently put it, provided his lingering condition hasn’t been diagnosed as chronic, an expert with the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City said Tuesday. “I think he’s going to be fine if they are truly saying what is wrong with him,” said Sabrina Strickland, an orthopedic sports surgeon who has been in practice more than 20 years. “Usually, it’s just a matter of doing the appropriate type of treatment to get better tissue in that area.” Strickland has not examined Leonard or been part of his treatment. A Spurs spokesman said Tuesday in a text message there still is “no timeline at this point” for Leonard’s return. The ailment has plagued the two-time All-Star and two-time defensive player of the year since last season, Popovich has said. Leonard, 26, attempted rehab over the summer, but it went “a little more slowly than we thought,” Popovich said in late September after the club announced the seventh-year pro would miss the preseason. “They were probably thinking he was a little bit better and he started training a little bit more, reactivated it and then rather then get it really, really inflamed, they backed up and started doing something a little more aggressive (in terms of treatment),” Strickland said. While Strickland said incidents of athletic careers ending from tendinopathy are “super rare,” she noted Leonard’s condition could be chronic, in which case, more aggressive treatment would be sought.