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Kawhi Leonard says he’s not ready to play back-to-backs yet

Kawhi Leonard, Raptors

Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard has yet to be cleared to play in back-to-back games, as he slowly gears back into playing shape as the season progresses.

“It’s just injury prevention,” said Leonard, according to TSN’s Josh Lewenberg. “You want to play, but I’ve been through the league long enough to know where the important games are, and that’s in April, May and June.”

The Raptors will have their next back-to-back this weekend, first taking on the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday and against the Utah Jazz on Monday. Leonard will likely push to play against his hometown team, rather than the back end in Salt Lake City.

“Yeah, for sure. We’ll see what happens and what they have on the menu, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be playing (in LA),” said Kawhi Leonard.

It’s likely Leonard will have his wish, as the Raptors won’t want to do anything to upset him through this season, still hoping he will choose to remain with the organization by the time free agency arrives.

Kawhi Leonard has played in six of the team’s eight games thus far and done so in star-like fashion, posting 27.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.0 steals per game through the early get-go.

It’s unknown when the Raptors will fully unleash Leonard and allow him to play in back-to-back games (which have been greatly reduced by the league by extending the overall duration of the NBA schedule), but the eye test suggests they should feel comfortable enough to do so around December.

Kawhi Leonard has played 31 or more minutes in each of his appearances with his new team, showing no signs of the injury that kept him out for most of the 2017-18 season.