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Kawhi Leonard out Wednesday vs. Pacers, will return on Friday against Rockets

Toronto Raptors star small forward Kawhi Leonard won’t play on Wednesday against the Indiana Pacers, but will return to the lineup on Friday versus James Harden and the Houston Rockets, according to head coach Nick Nurse.

The Raptors are holding out Kawhi Leonard on Tuesday and Wednesday just so they can rest their franchise player.

Leonard only played in nine games last season with the San Antonio Spurs due to a quadriceps injury, so the Raptors are just being careful with him this year. He can become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason if he declines his 2019-20 player option with Toronto.

Leonard, a two-time All-Star and two-time Defensive Player of the Year, is having an MVP-type season with the Raptors. He’s averaging 27.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game while shooting 50.4 percent from the field, 36.8 percent from beyond the arc, and 85.3 percent from the free-throw line.

After everything that happened last year in San Antonio, Leonard is probably grateful the Raptors are being cautious with him. Toronto enters Tuesday with the second-best record in the Eastern Conference at 35-13. They are hosting the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday, a game they should be able to win at home without the services of Leonard.