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Kawhi Leonard will be held out again vs. Kings

After initially seeming on track to play tonight against the Sacramento Kings, it seems as if Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard might actually be held out from playing tonight after all.

According to Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports, Leonard will be held out once again due to “load management,” a term the team is using to keep Leonard fresh for the entire season. The Raptors are on the first leg of a back-to-back, and playing against the Indiana Pacers tomorrow night.

Leonard is currently coming off a 2017 season in which he missed 73 games due to a season-long injury. After being dealt to the Toronto Raptors in the offseason, the team has been careful in dealing with Leonard and whatever injuries might be ailing him.

Even though Leonard has been held out of a handful of contests, this hasn’t stopped the Raptors from surging to the top of the Eastern Conference standings. Currently, the team is tied for first in the conference with the Milwaukee Bucks, and despite Leonard missing back-to-back games, they’ve still gone 8-2 to start the new calendar year.

Despite only playing in 36 of the team’s 48 games this season, Kawhi is still the Raptors leader in points (27.6), rebounds (7.9), and steals (1.9) per game. He’s also averaging the most minutes (35) per game of his career, so the Raptors are clearly better off with the former NBA Finals MVP playing. Still, the team is being extremely cautious with their star player, as they no doubt want him as fresh as possible when it comes to the postseason.