Doc Rivers thinks Kawhi Leonard will play back-to-backs later in the season, but hasn’t asked Clippers’ medical staff
Doc Rivers on if medical staff has indicated Kawhi Leonard will ever play full back-to-backs in second half of the season: “I think he will. But I have not asked.”
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) January 5, 2020
Leonard hasn’t played in back-to-back games since he was with the San Antonio Spurs. He has been dealing with the same knee injury that kept him out for most of the 2018 season.
The Clippers are using the same “load management” plan the Toronto Raptors used successfully last year with Leonard. The Raptors went 17-5 when Leonard wasn’t in the lineup last season. The Clippers are 4-5 without him this season.
The Clippers have prioritized Leonard’s long-term health, as they want him to be at full strength come playoff time. Leonard has already missed nine games this season, seven of which were on back to back games. The Clippers are still seeking ways to win without Leonard in the lineup.
Leonard will not play in Sunday’s matchup against the New York Knicks, which will be his 10th missed game of the season. The Clippers look to bounce back after Saturday’s ugly loss against the Memphis Grizzlies. Despite all the injuries in the lineup, they’re still tied for the second seed in the Western Conference.
On the season, Leonard is averaging 25.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.8 steals in 31.9 minutes per game for the Clippers, while shooting 44.8 percent from the field, 35.3 percent from three-point range and 89.1 percent from the free-throw line. The assist and rebound numbers are career highs, as Leonard has greatly increased his playmaking responsibilities in his first season in Los Angeles.