Mirjam Swanson: Tyronn Lue on the Clippers’ absent trio, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and Patrick Beverley: “They’re doing better.” On Pat: “Just being cautious and holding him out of back to backs.”
Kristina Pink: Clippers Injury Report tonight vs Miami: Paul George (Bone Edema Right Toe), Kawhi Leonard (Left Lower Leg Contusion), and Patrick Beverley (Rest-Healthy) are all OUT.
Jamie Hudson: Clippers Injury Report: Kawhi Leonard (mouth; laceration) is questionable; Marcus Morris Sr. (right knee; soreness) is out vs. Blazers tonight
A bloodied Kawhi Leonard was forced from the LA Clippers' game at the Denver Nuggets in the fourth quarter Friday night after a collision with a teammate left him needing eight stitches to treat a mouth laceration. Serge Ibaka was going up for a defensive rebound when his elbow collided with Leonard's face, immediately sending the All-Star forward to the floor. Leonard bled profusely from his mouth as he was treated on the court, before being helped back to the locker room with 6:07 left in the game.
"Really worried," George said. "I was thinking of the worst. I didn't know if he was concussed or how hard of a hit [it was] or what actually happened, because I didn't see it. I just saw him laying on the ground. That was first and foremost, just making sure he was OK."
For the second straight media availability, head coach Doc Rivers was non-committal when asked about Leonard’s health status and the team’s plan with his injury management. “I don’t know that yet,” Rivers said of Leonard’s limitations with minutes and back-to-backs. “But no limits. Kawhi is healthy, for the most part. That still doesn’t mean that we don’t want to maintain him and get him through the first eight games and get ready for the playoffs. We want to be smart about this. Not just for Kawhi. It’s with everybody. “But having everybody healthy was more about training camp. I mean, we really did not have a great training camp because we didn’t have enough bodies and enough of our key guys practicing. We have a virtually new team so we needed our new guys to be on the floor, and we didn’t have that ability to do that. This time, for the most part, we’ll have everybody in.”
But Leonard has become the inadvertent poster boy for load management, and any mystery regarding his status only fuels speculation. For now, the specifics of his health remain a mystery — remember, Rivers qualified Leonard’s health with “for the most part,” which leaves room for interpretation — and this storyline isn’t going away until games resume and there is a greater sense of where he’s at physically.
Andrew Greif: The Clippers say Kawhi Leonard is questionable to play tomorrow vs. Minnesota with lower back tightness. Also, Derrick Walton Jr. is questionable with an elbow contusion.
After missing the previous three games, LA Clippers All-Star Kawhi Leonard is planning to play in his first game with Paul George against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, league sources told ESPN.
Andrew Greif: Kawhi Leonard remains listed as questionable to play Wednesday against Boston. He's missed the last three games with a left knee contusion.
Andrew Greif: Doc Rivers said Kawhi Leonard was “close” to playing tonight but instead he’ll miss a third consecutive game after knocking knees vs. Houston.
Shams Charania: Evaluations on Clippers star Kawhi Leonard did not show any further seriousness to left knee contusion, and he is day-to-day in return, league sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Ramona Shelburne: Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard will miss Monday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, sources told ESPN. Leonard hasn’t played since suffering a left knee contusion in the second half of the Clippers loss to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.
Mark Medina: Clippers listing Kawhi Leonard and Patrick Beverley as questionable for tomorrow vs OKC. FWIW, Doc Rivers said that Kawhi “most definitely” will play tomorrow but we’ll see
Ohm Youngmisuk: Doc Rivers described Kawhi Leonard’s left knee contusion as more of a day-to-day thing and he didn’t sound concerned about it being more than that.
Mark Medina: Doc Rivers sarcastically said, "I love getting fined" when asked for the $50K penalty. He also said he's "scared to answer" on if there should be a balance between giving the NBA transparency/respecting Kawhi's privacy
Adrian Wojnarowski: Here's a view of what happened: Kawhi Leonard is private. He doesn't want his injury information public. Only, it has to be public for the Clippers to escape league punishment on violating resting rules. Doc Rivers was trying to be supportive of Leonard. They'll take the fine.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Rivers said: “He feels great. But he feels great because of what we’ve been doing. We’re just going to continue to do it. There’s no concern here. But we want to make sure. I think Kawhi made a statement that he’s never felt better. It’s our job to make sure he stays that way..."
Andrew Greif: “There’s no concern” over Kawhi’s health, Doc Rivers says. He said Kawhi feels good, and the team wants to keep it that way.
Adrian Wojnarowski: NBA spokesman Mike Bass on Kawhi Leonard: "Kawhi Leonard is not a healthy player under the league's resting policy, and, as such, is listed as managing a knee injury in the LA Clippers injury report. The league office, in consultation with the NBA's director of sports medicine, is comfortable with the team medical staff's determination that Leonard is not sufficiently healthy to play in back-to-back games at this time."
Adrian Wojnarowski: Decisions on sitting games are made well in advance as part of Leonard's "load management" schedule. It is possible Leonard will play in back-to-back games for Clippers this season, but that isn't in plans for the near future.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Leonard is missing his second straight back-to-back game tonight vs. Bucks -- which happened to also be a national TV game. He sat back-to-back last week against Jazz on national TV. Clippers have worked closely with NBA, sharing required medical information on Leonard's knee.
Sources told The Athletic’s Sam Amick and me that Leonard’s knee issue stems from overcompensating for his injured right quad suffered last season, that cost him all but nine games and basically paved the way for his exit out of San Antonio to the Raptors. His right quad, actually, is fine, and the left knee is the reason you’ve seen him laboring at times.
Eric Koreen: Nurse on Kawhi: “I don’t think the leg issue is a big issue and I expect him to be better tomorrow."
Much has been made of Kawhi Leonard's occasional limp during Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference finals. And yet, in a conference call with reporters Wednesday afternoon ahead of Game 5 at Fiserv Forum Thursday night, Raptors coach Nick Nurse maintained his star will be ready when the ball goes up. "He's feeling good," Nurse said. "No concerns at this point. He's good."
He’s injured. He has to be. For two games Kawhi Leonard has dragged around his right leg like there was a nail hammered into it. The Raptors won’t admit there’s a problem. Nick Nurse says he’s fine. Leonard’s face says different. In the third quarter of Toronto’s 120-102 Game 4 win, Leonard elevated for dunk, colliding with Giannis Antetokounmpo in mid-air, that right leg refusing to bend when it hit the floor. He winced, looking down at the leg. For the stoic Leonard, it was the equivalent of a scream.
“He’s playing through pain,” Danny Green said to a handful of reporters, long after Leonard left the locker room. “He can’t even celebrate baskets because of how painful it is. You dunk on a guy like Giannis and you are worried about your knee, it shows you that he’s fighting. We’re going to need him to fight through the rest of this series. We need two more.”
Leonard won’t cop to any injury, of course. In a Leonard-esque, two-minute post game media gaggle, Leonard said he felt good. “I can keep going, keep fighting,” Leonard said. “We have a chance to make history. There’s no excuses. You’re playing basketball. And we got a win tonight.”
Doug Smith: Raptors PR just says Kawhi Leonard is out tonight with a sore left knee. This is gonna be a gem of a game in Atlanta
Ryan Wolstat: Kawhi to us this morning 1/2: "I’m not hurt or anything like that ... I already played three times (the number) the games I played last year so you can’t just come out here and run your body into the ground ... "
Jason Anderson: I'm hearing @Kawhi Leonard (load management) might be held out again tonight when the @Toronto Raptors play the @Sacramento Kings. Leonard has missed the last two games. He was expected to return tonight but it's the first leg of a back-to-back with a big game against the Pacers tomorrow.
Mike Ganter: So no Kawhi Leonard tonight vs Pacers. Raptors have ruled him out. Lowry listed as questionable but still believe it’s a good bet he plays.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Kyle Lowry will miss Toronto's game at Portland with thigh bruise -- Kawhi Leonard will play, per Raptors.
Tim Bontemps: The Raptors have listed Kawhi Leonard as questionable for tomorrow night's game in Portland. Leonard has missed the past two games with a bruised right hip.
Eric Smith: Direct quotes from Kawhi on his foot and/or status: "I feel alright." "It feels ok." "We'll see tomorrow how I feel." "I did everything I wanted to do (in practice)."
Paul Jones: Nick Nurse said Kawhi Leonard jammed his foot late in the game and is still being evaluated #Raptors #rtz
Josh Lewenberg: Nurse, asked if Kawhi's health is going to be a problem: "Not from what I've seen, at all. But a guy that hasn't played that much (over the last year), we're going to monitor it."
Toronto Raptors guard Danny Green empathized with Kawhi Leonard desiring a second opinion on his injured quadriceps, after learning recently during an exit physical in San Antonio that he had been playing with a torn groin that went undetected by the Spurs.
Green suffered the injury Dec. 8 against the Boston Celtics. "I get an MRI the next day," Green said. "[It says] slight strain, take a couple weeks off. So we do the rehab, do everything we're supposed to do. After some time, it healed. I tried to play again. Certain days, I'd have bad days. Some days would be good. I'd feel it. My agent [Joe Branch said], 'Maybe we should get a second opinion.' I didn't want to because I have full faith and believe in the Spurs' staff. They've always been great to me. They've always done right by me. They've always done a hell of a job."
According to sources, Leonard and his representatives believed the Spurs misdiagnosed the forward's quadriceps injury as tendinopathy. Green, meanwhile, played 70 games for the Spurs in 2017-18 after missing five games in December due to the groin injury. "Everybody should get a second opinion just to see another perspective," he said.
Asked about the trouble Leonard had experienced getting back on the court, Parker expressed sympathy, noting the ruptured quadriceps tendon he himself had suffered in the playoffs the season before and the difficulty of his own rehab. “I’ve been through it,” said Parker, who has signed to play in Charlotte next season. “It was a rehab for me for eight months. Same kind of injury, but mine was 100 times worse. You just stay positive.” Parker’s quote was mostly innocuous, except for three words. Leonard’s representatives took issue with the phrase “100 times worse.” They were furious, believing the Spurs point guard was questioning Leonard’s commitment to returning.
Josh Lewenberg: Kawhi will be taking his physical in the next few days, Masai says. "He'll be here shortly."
Despite being eligible to receive a five-year super max extension this summer worth $221 million from the Spurs, Leonard wanted out of San Antonio for myriad reasons. He felt betrayed by the team for the handling of the quadriceps injury that kept him out of all but nine games last season -- plus, Leonard's camp believes the Spurs misdiagnosed a 2014 wrist injury as well -- and also for the resistance encountered from the franchise when seeking outside opinions. Not to mention what seemed to be public questioning of the situation by members of the organization, with sources saying the forward had been medically cleared to play since December.
The franchise harbored some ill will, too, but considered Leonard such an important commodity it was willing to work through the difficult times toward resolution. The Spurs disliked ceding control in August of Leonard's medical care to outside doctors and were miffed by the handling of the entire situation by the forward's representation -- namely uncle Dennis Robertson -- who, like Leonard, didn't necessarily excel in the communication department, according to sources.
Privately, officials within organization had hoped Leonard would let the Spurs declare him out for the season due to his injury, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. Believing he'd eventually return, Leonard declined each time, leaving Popovich to field queries from the media that he couldn't definitively answer. Popovich simply didn't know.
Parker elected to utilize the Spurs' doctors, while Leonard sought treatment outside of the organization. "I have no problem with Kawhi Leonard. We never had an argument," Parker told The Undefeated. "When the journalist asked me if my injury was worse than Kawhi's, I said yes because it was true. But that didn't lessen the significance of his injury. He took over the franchise and I gave up the torch of the franchise willingly. It's very sad that the media took one quote and made it sound like I didn't want to play with him. He was the face of the franchise."
Peter Vecsey: "Kawhi listened to the Spurs doctor. Did everything he was told. But when he went back to play his knee began to hurt from the stress. He was scared about blowing it out. He saw what happened to Isaiah Thomas when he played in pain for Boston in the playoffs. He got reduced to damaged goods. As a free agent this summer, he'll never recoup the $50M-$100M he lost by deciding to play. "The Spurs knew the quad was only 70 percent," insists my source. "Kawhi got good advice, advice anybody would give their son in the same situation, see an independent doctor."
Bruce Bowen, who won three NBA titles with the San Antonio Spurs, took Kawhi Leonard to task for his dealings with the team this year, saying "there's nothing but excuses going on." Speaking on Sirius XM NBA Radio Thursday night, Bowen said: "First, it was, 'Well I was misdiagnosed.' Look here: You got $18 million this year, and you think that they're trying to rush you? You didn't play for the most part a full season this year. And you're the go-to guy, you're the franchise, and you want to say that they didn't have your best interest at heart? Are you kidding me?"
"I think he's getting bad advice," Bowen said. "I think what you're starting to see now is an individual given a certain amount of advice, and it's not the right advice. Here it is: You were protected in San Antonio. You were able to come up during a time where you still could lean on Tim [Duncan] Tony [Parker] and Manu [Ginobili]."
"Not one time has Kawhi come out and said anything to the effect of, 'You know what, hey, I really enjoy being in San Antonio.' Or, 'I can't stand what's going on here in San Antonio,' " Bowen said. "Not one time has he said anything."
The Spurs’ front office and Leonard’s representatives had been in communication since the season ended, and Leonard has been in contact with coach Gregg Popovich, league sources said. Leonard spent most of the second half of the season rehabbing his injury in New York, where his medical team was based and where he trained with Spurs staffers. He has returned close to full health from the lingering quad injury.
Leonard had told confidants that he did not want to sit down with Popovich and has been purposely difficult for the Spurs to reach recently. Among the issues, Leonard is angry over what he believes was the Spurs' mishandling of a quad injury, and remains irate with public comments out of teammate Tony Parkerand Popovich that he felt were not supportive of him, league sources said.
Peter Vecsey: In a cell conversation yesterday with Kawhi’s fringe friend (see above car quote), my first words were ones I’ve often promoted: “You know, I’m only as good as my source. What can you tell me?” Enough so that I’m thoroughly disinclined to believe Kawhi and Pop can’t patch things up, predominantly because their relationship isn’t in need of a large patch. From what I’m told, they’ve never exchanged harsh words or gone off on each other. A single problem existed last season that would not go away: Kawhi’s caregivers and doctors felt his repaired quad wasn’t entirely healthy when he returned 28 games into the season. After nine, some very effective, minute-monitored games, they insisted he return to rehab.
Peter Vecsey: But there is a reason they’re called ‘team’ doctors, and not players’ doctors … they’re paid by the team. “The media made it seem as if the Spurs and Kawhi’s people weren’t communicating. Like they didn’t know where he was and how things were going,” my source said. “They were in constant touch. I think Pop made Mitch wear a helmet cam. “The Spurs had their opinion regarding what should be done. Kawhi’s people disagreed. I don’t see any reason why both sides can’t move forward together.”
Charania reported that Kawhi Leonard is close to 100 percent and expected to be ready for training camp. The Spurs still intend to “mend fences” with the guard and Charania noted that the two sides are much closer to a resolution than it appears from afar. He insisted that Leonard didn’t “go rogue” by rehabbing in New York away from the team during the season, and said he’s been close to Spurs staffers and Gregg Popovich as he mourned the death of his wife.
Leonard played in just nine regular season games in 2017-18 despite receiving clearance from the Spurs’ medical staff to return from a quadriceps ailment. His decision to continue rehabbing away from the club under the supervision of his own medical team created a rift between him and the Spurs, as well as many of their fans. “It’s a bit of a dark cloud,” [Spurs advertising executive] Aguilar said of the saga, which ranks among the strangest in club history.
Rudy Gay: With that situation, it’s tough being injured. I know it was tough for him. It’s tough when you’re sitting out and knowing what you can do and not being able to contribute. I’ve done it! I’ve been there and had to sit out. Not being able to play basketball is hard. This is all we know. Being healthy is rare in this business. That’s why I’m taking this summer to get myself 100 percent healthy and become the best player I can be. I guess our timing was off, you know?
Ramona Shelburne: "I think Pop has a general sense of, 'My relationship with Kawhi seems to be strong,' and all that, but as far as specific details, I think that's where we get into—remember there was a little head fake when [Kawhi] was supposed to come back in March, [multiple people, including Adrian Wojnarowski] reported it and then it was, 'Nope, he's not ready yet.' I remember calling at the time and there was still optimism he'd come back a little later in March but that never happened.”
Ramona Shelburne: There are certain rules on how you're supposed to update injuries in the NBA, you're supposed to diagnose it and put real timelines on it. Well, that's what the team is supposed to do. But the team [San Antonio] is no longer in charge of this. All Pop can really say is, 'You'll have to ask Kawhi's group.' Then when we go ask his group, the answers are not forthcoming."
Zach Lowe: "Do you think the Spurs believe [if they were still alive in the playoffs] that Kawhi Leonard [could/should] be playing now?" Ramona Shelburne: "I think [the Spurs] think he can play. I don't know if they think he should play. Because... they'll seem him right now in three-on-three and he looks fine. You watch him go hard and he looks fine. But if you make him do certain tests, or isolate the right quad muscle, he still doesn't have—that test is not quite there yet. And then he'll still report pain in that area."
Leonard's camp believes his condition is the result of a series of contusions to the quadriceps that began with one very deep bruise in March 2016 that caused him to miss three games. Leonard was again listed with a "quad contusion" on the Feb. 6, 2017, injury report, when he was a late scratch before a game. But it wasn't until the end of last season when the severity of the injury became apparent. According to multiple sources, Leonard's camp has come to believe the issue has more to do with an ossification or hardening in the area where the muscle has been repeatedly bruised and then an atrophying, which in turn affected the tendons connecting the muscle to the kne
Initially the Spurs' doctors were calling the shots, with Leonard following their protocols for most of last summer in his workouts in San Antonio with team staffers and San Diego with his longtime personal trainer. But things began to change in August as Leonard continued to experience discomfort, according to sources. His agent, Mitch Frankel, and uncle, Dennis Robertson, began pressing the Spurs to consult outside opinions. Last fall, Dr. Keith Pyne, the managing partner of SportsLab NYC, who is affiliated with the Washington Nationals and New York Islanders, began consulting on the case.
Tom Orsborn: As expected, Kawhi Leonard is out for Game 5. Also as expected, Manu Ginobili is all in despite his late-game inury in Game 4: "Quad contusion, one of hundreds all career long," he said after Sunday's game. #Spurs
But is a reconciliation even possible? The relationship between Popovich and Leonard, multiple sources say, remains strong. The fact Aldridge remains a Spur at all — after he was upset enough last summer to ask for a trade — lends credence to the argument that it is always too early to judge these things.
April 1, 2023 | 8:18 am EDT Update
Anthony Davis injury not serious
Jovan Buha: Anthony Davis: “I knew I was going to play regardless. Just that initial tweak — a little bit of pain.” He said he didn’t want to go out afterward and continued to play on adrenaline.
Anthony Davis hobbled through a turned ankle and the Los Angeles Lakers continued their march toward a postseason return with a 123-111 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night. “He kicked our ass in every way possible,” Wolves coach Chris Finch said after Davis scored 17 of his 38 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Lakers to their fifth win in their past six games to go above .500 for the first time all season. Davis twisted his left ankle when he stepped backwards onto Lakers forward Wenyen Gabriel’s foot midway through the third quarter.
Davis didn’t miss a single possession. He checked back into the game after the stop in action and contributed to a 24-2 run by the Lakers that put them into the driver’s seat heading into the fourth quarter. “I knew I was going to play,” Davis said after the game. “Tied the shoes up tighter and just kind off played off adrenaline until the end of the game and was able to get some treatment. But I’ll be fine.”
StatMuse: Anthony Davis tonight: 38 PTS 17 REB 2 BLK 15-26 FG The only player with double-digit 30/15 games this season. pic.twitter.com/K3sCn2705P
Jovan Buha: The Lakers are staying overnight in Minneapolis instead of flying to Houston because of the ongoing blizzard warning. Here’s what the streets currently look like. pic.twitter.com/aSiM8tdNEZ
Damian Lillard on being shut down for the season: 'I wouldn't say it's my decision at all'
Players feel the wrath of fans for load management in the NBA, but more often than not it’s a team’s medical and training staff — driven by analytics and the use of wearable sensors — that sit a player. Guys don’t get to the NBA not wanting to compete. Case in point, Damian Lillard. The Trail Blazers have shut him down for the rest of the season, but he told Dan Patrick on the Dan Patrick Show that it was a team call, not his. “I wouldn’t say it’s my decision at all. I think maybe the team protecting me from myself… Every time that I’ve had some type injury like that kind of get irritated or aggravated or something like that, it’s come from just like a heavy load, and stress, and just, you know, going out there and trying to go above and beyond. So, you know, I would say just; there is something there, and also them just trying to protect me from myself as well.”
Lillard also talked about his loyalty to Portland, which is partly tied to how he wants to win a ring — the way Dirk Nowitzki and Giannis Antetokounmpo did, with the team and city that drafted them. “I just have a way that I want to get things done for myself… I just have my stance on what I want to see happen, but in this business, you just never know.”