Raptors superstar Kawhi Leonard’s knee injury caused by ‘overcompensating’ for quad issue
Vardon noted that his quad is now “fine,” but his knee has caused the forward to be “laboring at times” after putting further torque into the joint.
Leonard has looked mostly okay throughout these NBA Finals after getting five days of rest before the start of the series, but the risk of that injury flaring up again is palpable, given that he’s played an average of 41 minutes per game this series, consistent with his time through the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Klaw’s playing time has visibly ratcheted up since getting through the Orlando Magic in the first round, going from 34 minutes per game in that series to bordering 40 minutes a night ever since.
The strain to compensate on that leg along with the heavy minutes he’s seeing during these playoffs could compound over time, given that he’s only played over 40 minutes four times during the regular season (all in overtime), while being afforded 22 absences for load management after a 2017-18 season in which he only suited up nine times for the San Antonio Spurs.
Leonard will tough it out as long as he needs to, but ultimately, it will be up to his body to say how he responds through this vital stretch as his legs are pushed to their limit.