Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard will not play Wednesday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks due to load management. It will mark the second time in just eight games Leonard has missed a game due to rest.
Given the importance of the matchup — it’s a nationally broadcast game between two excellent teams — some have questioned why Leonard would need to rest again this early in the season.
The NBA is fine with the Clippers’ decision. In a statement to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA confirmed Leonard is dealing with a knee injury and “cannot play back-to-back games at this time.”
NBA spokesman Mike Bass on Kawhi Leonard: "Kawhi Leonard is not a healthy player under the league's resting policy, and, as such, is listed as managing a knee injury in the LA Clippers injury report. The league office, in consultation with the NBA's director of sports medicine.."— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 6, 2019
Bass continued: "...is comfortable with the team medical staff's determination that Leonard is not sufficiently healthy to play in back-to-back games at this time." https://t.co/UfoVeWC513— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 6, 2019
Wojnarowski added that the Clippers have worked closely with the NBA regarding Leonard’s injury.
While the 28-year-old has sat during two nationally televised games, both of those contests were part of back-to-back stretches. Leonard sat out Oct. 30 against the Utah Jazz, but played the next night, when the Clippers took on the San Antonio Spurs. Leonard will miss Wednesday’s game against the Bucks, but plans to play Thursday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
When he has played, Leonard has been his usual, dominant self. He’s averaged 29.3 points and 7.3 rebounds this season.
Leonard’s inability to play in back-to-back games hasn’t held back the Clippers this season. The team is off to a 5-2 start.
Figuring out a way to keep up that pace while also ensuring Leonard remains healthy and rested will be key. The Clippers will need Leonard at his best if the team hopes to make a deep postseason run.
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