NBA Rumor: Kawhi Leonard Injury

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Kawhi Leonard playing through foot injury

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.”

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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.

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.”

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.
3 years ago via ESPN

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.”

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.
3 years ago via ESPN

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.
3 years ago via ESPN

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.
3 years ago via ESPN

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.”
3 years ago via ESPN

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?”
3 years ago via ESPN

“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.”
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