Clippers star Kawhi Leonard out vs. Pacers with knee injury maintenance
As expected, Leonard has yet to be cleared for playing in back-to-back games, having yet to do so since April 2017. Leonard is now bound to miss seven of the first 25 games of the season, despite coming off a 34-point effort in a win over the Washington Wizards.
Leonard has had a shaky past five games, with sub-20-point games sprinkled between two 34-point performances. Known for his consistency and smart shot selection, Leonard has shot under 40% in three of the last five games, a sign that his knee injury is still a worrisome prospect for the Clippers.
Head coach Doc Rivers said the team might still play him in back-to-back at some point this season, but it’s unknown when that would be. The Toronto Raptors made it a common practice to sit him out of back-to-back games, resulting in him only playing 60 games last season.
Leonard is bound for a similar track record this season, considering how the Clippers are employing the same tactic to keep him fully healthy for the playoffs.
Having Paul George to shoulder the load in nights when Leonard sits certainly helps, something the Clips will benefit from through the course of the season after he returned from surgeries to both shoulders this offseason. Los Angeles is 17-7 this season, having won 10 of their last 13 games since George made his season debut.