Andrew Greif: Clippers president Lawrence Frank, post-draft, acknowledged Kawhi Leonard’s recovery will take “a great deal of time.” The team wants its relationship with the star to also last a very long time: latimes.com/sports/clipper…
Law Murray: Lawrence Frank on Kawhi Leonard: "Right now our focus is on his health. He had major surgery. He tore his ACL. So it's gonna require a great deal of time and more support."
For something like a partial ACL tear, diagnosing that was important. What are the differences between knee sprains that affect the ACL ligament? DR. NGUYEN: So the grading scale is more of a guideline. Grade ones and grade threes are relatively straightforward in terms of treatment. The grade ones, usually non-operative, the grade threes are typically operative for elite athletes. Basketball players and soccer players, football players, are required to do a lot of cutting and pivoting.
The grade twos are where you kind of get into the gray zones. There are some patients where the instability that the patients feel, depend on how ACL dependent they are. There are people who have ACL tears and don’t feel any instability. There are people who have ACL tears, and they feel very unstable. So from a clinical perspective, you have to analyze how unstable their knee is objectively and subjectively. So if a patient says that their knee is unstable, even with a partial ACL tear, then typically they need surgery to stabilize that and reconstruct the ACL. But if they’re not clinically unstable, meaning that the knee feels stable, and they don’t have any symptoms from it, there are times where people can be treated non operatively, and rehab and play sports without any issues. So it really depends on the patient.
In such cases as Kawhi Leonard, he probably felt some instability, and they probably had some objective findings of instability, even with a partial ACL tear. Which is why they decided to do surgery. The question next, if you decide to do surgery, is what kind of surgery are you going to do?
Partial ACL tears can be categorized as tears in the anteromedial bundle, or tears in the posterolateral bundle. Those are the two main bundles that occur, that the ACL fiber has. And typically, the anteromedial bundle tears, but they can both tear. If the remaining fibers are competent, meaning that they’re stable and are strong enough to function like a normal ACL, then you could do a partial or single-bundle ACL reconstruction, where you just reconstruct or repair the bundle that’s torn. And those are different techniques that are involved in that. More often, however, the remaining bundle fibers are not competent and not functioning. So even with a partial ACL tear, the remaining fibers don’t work. And so you end up doing a full reconstruction like normal.
Now, when you say recover quicker: In a case like Kawhi, because his injury happened on June 14 and surgery on July 13, where would you realistically put a timetable on his return to play? It depends on the type of surgery that he had. If it was a full ACL reconstruction, you’re looking at the regular time period for recovery, which is typically 6-9 months. Sometimes up to a year. If it was a low-grade partial ACL tear, and they did an ACL repair or an ACL augmentation with an orthobiologic supplementation, then possibly the recovery could be quicker. Maybe even 3-6 months, as opposed to the nine months to a year timeline. But again, it depends on the type of procedure that was done, and what the original injury and severity of the original ACL tear was.
Adam Aaronson: Woj says he’s gotten no indication that Kawhi Leonard is interested in leaving the Clippers. Says the Clippers are acting with Kawhi being on the roster in mind. But… “There’s an expectation that he could miss next season.”
The announcement Tuesday “does leave numerous question marks” about the nature of Leonard’s surgery and his return to the court, said T.O. Souryal, a former two-term president of the NBA’s association of team physicians and the Dallas Mavericks’ team doctor for 22 years. Souryal, now an orthopedic surgeon at and medical director of a Texas sports medicine clinic, said he had seen a “true partial ACL tear less than a handful of times.”
“Think of the ACL, which is the main stabilizer of the knee, as a rope, because it is made up of fibers made up very much like a rope is,” Souryal said. “In my experience of well over 5,000 ACL injuries, it’s either torn or it’s not. Very rarely are a few fibers torn and the remainder is intact. Extremely rare. “The big question then becomes what does one do orthopedically with the remaining ACL? Are there enough fibers left that the knee is stable, or is it perhaps a ticking time bomb and you wonder when the remaining fibers will go? On the rare occasion that there is a partial ACL tear, the treatment is typically an ACL reconstruction.”
Both Souryal and Alan Beyer, the executive medical director at Orange County’s Hoag Orthopedic Institute, called a full reconstruction, in which the damaged ACL is replaced with a tendon from usually the patella, quadriceps or hamstring, the “gold standard” of ACL repair and easily the most common route. A return time is typically between nine and 12 months, though some athletes have returned sooner. Beyer, who also is an orthopedic surgeon, said that newer possibilities for repairing partially torn ACLs had emerged in recent years, such as inserting a type of bridge with the hope the torn tendon could be stabilized and regrow. But he added that any such operations have little data supporting their outcomes, making it difficult to project their efficacy on an elite athlete.
“You don’t do this operation to get him back quicker, you do this operation because you think it’s going to be less long-term morbidity, in that you’re not sacrificing another one of his tissues to function as an ACL,” said Beyer, who, like Souryal, had not consulted with either the Clippers or Leonard about the surgery. “We don’t have a large number of long-term success stories that we can say ah-ha, this works, when this is the presenting picture. It is a little bit of a risk that it’s not going to work as well as if you’d just bitten the bullet and done a conventional ACL reconstruction.”
One executive I spoke to following the announcement that Kawhi had surgery to repair the partially torn ACL said he thinks no matter what, Kawhi would opt out, especially given the fact that Kevin Durant got the max after he suffered a ruptured Achilles. That executive also noted that Kawhi’s going to hit the 10-year mark for his years of service, which plays a role in upping his max contract as well.
Chris Haynes: Los Angeles Clippers announce Kawhi Leonard underwent surgery to repair a partially torn ACL.
Marc Stein: No established timetable for Kawhi Leonard’s return, Clippers say. Leonard has a player option for next season to return to the Clippers … or he can opt for free agency.
Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard has been ruled out of the remainder of the Western Conference finals series against the Phoenix Suns, league sources said.
However, Leonard could still play in the NBA Finals, should the Clippers advance, as he has not been ruled out for the rest of the season. He has been rehabbing the injury in L.A. and is progressing in his recovery.
NBA TV: “Kawhi Leonard is not ruling out a return at all during this postseason.” @Chris Haynes provides an update on Kawhi ahead of Game 6.
JD Shaw: The Clippers are listing Ivica Zubac (right knee MCL sprain) as questionable to play in Game 6 tomorrow. Kawhi Leonard and Serge Ibaka remain out.
Marc Stein: The Clippers just announced that Kawhi Leonard (right knee sprain) is officially out for Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.
Mark Medina: Clippers coach Ty Lue said Kawhi Leonard won’t play in Game 5 tomorrow and will stay in LA
Kawhi Leonard is "highly unlikely" to fly with his Los Angeles Clippers teammates to Phoenix for Game 5 on Monday, sources told Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports. "The elevation wouldn't be good for his knee," said Haynes. Haynes added that "there is still no definitive word" on Leonard's status.
Law Murray: Paul George: "I can't speak on the health of Kawhi." Says that if he's not 100 percent, it wouldn't be good for Leonard to be out there. Says concern for his health is the top priority there.
Mirjam Swanson: As Ty Lue mentioned, Kawhi Leonard (knee) and Serge Ibaka (back surgery) are officially out for Game 4. Marcus Morris Sr. isn't listed on the Clippers' injury report, but Lue said it could again be a game-time call before it's decided whether he plays on an ailing knee.
Ohm Youngmisuk: Ty Lue says Kawhi Leonard remains out for Game 4. Marcus Morris will be a game-time decision again. Lue said it wasn't until like 20-30 minutes before Game 3 that they knew Morris would be able to go.
Mark Medina: Clippers coach Ty Lue still no more updates with Kawhi Leonard other than he's out tonight for Game 3
Marc Stein: The Clippers have officially ruled Kawhi Leonard (right knee sprain) out of Tuesday's Game 2 of the Western Conference finals in Phoenix.
Mark Medina: Clippers coach Ty Lue on Kawhi Leonard's progress with rehab: "I really don't know. I just get the updates that he's out today. I just move on from there. I don't want to question 'When's he coming back, or how long? Is he playing tomorrow? Is he playing tonight?' Okay. Move on."
Mark Medina: Clippers coach Ty Lue said Kawhi Leonard is out for Game 2. He added Marcus Morris Sr. "is still experiencing soreness" and "getting treatment around the clock." His status unclear for Game 2
Mirjam Swanson: Ty Lue says he talked with Kawhi 40 minutes ago, says his star is engaged and wants to know what adjustments they're gonna make, etc. even while rehabbing back home.
NBA Central: "He’s doing everything he can to get back as fast as possible." - Reggie Jackson on Kawhi Leonard (h/t @TomerAzarly ) pic.twitter.com/6fOBnqwLwE
Law Murray: Tyronn Lue says Clippers can't worry about a potential Kawhi Leonard return and are preparing as if he won't be available for WCF. But he won't say that Leonard is ruled out for Game 2.
Andrew Greif: Kawhi Leonard is ruled out for Game 1 of the WCF, per the Clippers.
Chris Haynes: Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard (knee) will not travel with the team to Phoenix to continue rehabbing at home, league sources tell @YahooSports, @NBAonTNT.
Law Murray: Tyronn Lue says that Kawhi Leonard is definitely out for Game 6.
Ohm Youngmisuk: Ty Lue says no update on Kawhi Leonard's sprained knee.
Ohm Youngmisuk: Paul George said while it is a blow not having Kawhi, George tried to look at it from a positive for Kawhi, saying that Kawhi might be able to get some rest, Clips hopefully can keep things afloat until he returns and "he has a new baby boy, a lot of love for him and his family."
Mirjam Swanson: Ty says Kawhi is a "little down" because he wanted to be there for his guys ... adds that there's no potential return, waiting for testing and "go from there."
Law Murray: Tyronn Lue says that Kawhi Leonard traveled with the team, then flew back to Los Angeles.
Ohm Youngmisuk: Told that people are counting the Clippers out now with Kawhi Leonard out, Ty Lue said, "I've been counted out my whole life... not really worried about the chatter. We were counted out in the first series as well."
Mark Medina: Clippers coach Ty Lue said team "is being optimistic" about Kawhi Leonard's right knee injury
Mirjam Swanson: Tyronn Lue on Kawhi's injury, team vibe: "Just know he has a right knee sprain -- being optimistic about the situation. We understand it's part of the game, it's tough that it happened -- all season long, we've been having a next-man-up-mentality."
Mirjam Swanson: Quin Snyder on playing a Kawhi-less Clips: "Obviously sympathies, wish him a speedy recover. ... the personal component always trumps that (competitive component)."
Eric Walden: Quin Snyder, on the Clippers adjusting without Kawhi: "No one in the world isolates at the nail better than he does. … But teams respond. And they'll respond. Everybody playing at this time of year understands there's a next-man-up mentality."
Andrew Greif: With the Clippers preparing for Game 5 in Utah tonight, was told that Kawhi Leonard remains in Los Angeles while nursing his injured right knee.
Andrew Greif: Mike Conley on Kawhi: "First off that's not news you want to hear at any point. ... You feel for anyone with an injury. ... It'll be a tough situation for them."
Shams Charania: Clippers fear All-NBA star Kawhi Leonard has suffered an ACL injury, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium . He is out indefinitely.
While the Clippers won their second straight game in blowout fashion to give them all the momentum, Tyronn Lue's team heads to Utah with some concern over Leonard's health. The Clippers' franchise player came up gimpy after driving to the basket while being fouled by Joe Ingles with 5:25 left in the game. Leonard leaned over before briefly grabbing his right knee. Leonard left the contest with 4:35 remaining and did not return. "I'm good," Leonard would only say when asked about his knee. "Next question." Lue believes Leonard will be fine for Wednesday's pivotal Game 5 in Salt Lake City. "Yeah, I think so," Lue said. "We'll know more after the game, but yeah, I think everybody is pretty good."
Mirjam Swanson: Kawhi says: "I feel good. I'll be ready to go."
In his first game back after missing the previous five games due to right foot soreness, Leonard had 16 points, six assists and five rebounds in 30 minutes in the LA Clippers' 110-104 loss to the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center. "I'm feeling good," Leonard said in his first comments since April 9. "We took the proper steps to get me right, to make sure nothing significant is wrong with me ... so hopefully we can just keep moving up from here."
When asked if he will have to play through this foot injury for the remainder of the season, Leonard said the issue is not something that just developed after the last time he played against Minnesota on April 18. "Yeah, I mean, I've been doing it," Leonard said. "It's not something that just occurred after the last game. But I'll be all right. I've been through situations like this before."
Andrew Greif: Will Kawhi Leonard play tomorrow against Denver? "Hope so," Ty Lue said. The team will see how he looks and moves today.
Ohm Youngmisuk: Kawhi Leonard will play today against Minnesota.
Ohm Youngmisuk: Ty Lue says the team is leaning toward the cautious side with holding Kawhi Leonard out due to a foot issue. Leonard will sit out his third straight game tonight and is considered day-to-day by Lue.
Mirjam Swanson: Clippers will be without Kawhi tomorrow in Indy, he's OUT with a sore right foot. Serge (back) and Pat Bev (hand) also are out, of course. Everyone else is available.
Andrew Greif: Kawhi Leonard is questionable to play vs. Washington, Clippers say, because of back spasms that sidelined him vs. Boston. Marcus Morris (concussion) is doubtful. Patrick Patterson (personal reasons) is out.
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..."
September 26, 2021 | 6:15 am EDT Update
“The NBA should insist that all players and staff are vaccinated or remove them from the team,” NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tells Rolling Stone. “There is no room for players who are willing to risk the health and lives of their teammates, the staff and the fans simply because they are unable to grasp the seriousness of the situation or do the necessary research. What I find especially disingenuous about the vaccine deniers is their arrogance at disbelieving immunology and other medical experts. Yet, if their child was sick or they themselves needed emergency medical treatment, how quickly would they do exactly what those same experts told them to do?”
Irving, who serves as a vice president on the executive committee of the players’ union, recently started following and liking Instagram posts from a conspiracy theorist who claims that “secret societies” are implanting vaccines in a plot to connect Black people to a master computer for “a plan of Satan.” This Moderna microchip misinformation campaign has spread across multiple NBA locker rooms and group chats, according to several of the dozen-plus current players, Hall-of-Famers, league executives, arena workers and virologists interviewed for this story over the past week.
When asked directly about Irving’s vaccination status — or his plans to change it — multiple people familiar with his thinking declined to answer directly. But one confidant and family member floated to Rolling Stone the idea of anti-vaxx players skipping home games to dodge the New York City ordinance… or at least threatening to protest them, until the NBA changes its ways.
“There are so many other players outside of him who are opting out, I would like to think they would make a way,” says Kyrie’s aunt, Tyki Irving, who runs the seven-time All-Star’s family foundation and is one of the few people in his regular circle of advisors. “It could be like every third game. So it still gives you a full season of being interactive and being on the court, but with the limitations that they’re, of course, oppressing upon you. There can be some sort of formula where the NBA and the players can come to some sort of agreement.”
A spokeswoman for Irving declined to respond to a list of questions regarding his vaccination and playing status, and Irving did not immediately respond to a message from Rolling Stone. But as teams return to pre-season training camps next week, fifty to sixty NBA players have yet to receive a single vaccine dose, league sources tell RS. Most are considered merely reluctant skeptics. Some of the holdouts, however, amount to their own shadow roster of anti-vaxxers mounting a behind-the-scenes resistance to Covid protocols — and the truth.
Isaac considers un-vaxxed players to be vilified and bullied, and he thinks “it’s an injustice” to automatically make heroes out of vaccinated celebrities. He rejects the NBA’s proposal for a vaccine mandate and social distancing for players like him during team travel: “You can play on the same court. We can touch the same ball. We can bump chests. We can do all those things on the court. And then when it comes to being on the bus, we have to be in different parts of the bus? To me, it doesn’t seem logically consistent. “If you are vaccinated, in other places you still have to wear the mask regardless. It’s like, ‘OK, then what is the mask necessarily for?’” Isaac continues. “And if Kyrie says that from his position of his executive power in the NBPA, then kudos to him.”
Enes Kanter — the veteran center, devout Muslim and outspoken liberal — senses a creep of the religious right upon his workplace, which just happens to involve players like Isaac sweating all over him and yelling in his face: “If a guy’s not getting vaccinated because of his religion, I feel like we are in a time where the religion and science has to go to together,” he tells RS. “I’ve talked to a lot of religious guys — I’m like: ‘It saves people’s lives, so what is more important than that?’”
In their sit-down interview back in August, Durant and Green rehashed the incident and how it ultimately affected KD’s decision to leave the Warriors. Surprisingly, KD claimed it wasn’t the beef itself that pushed him away, but the way Steve Kerr, Bob Myers and the front office handled things. “It wasn’t the argument,” the former Warriors star said. “It was the way that everybody … Steve Kerr acted like it didn’t happen. Bob Myers tried to just discipline you and think that would put a mask over everything. I really felt that was such a big situation for us as a group, the first time we went through something like that. We had to get that s— all out.”