The LA Clippers’ injury woes continue, as Kawhi Leonard will be out until at least next week while managing right foot soreness.
The All-Star was ruled out of Tuesday night’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, and the Clippers said he will be evaluated next week.
Clippers coach Ty Lue said the team is holding Leonard out to be safe as the postseason nears.
“He wants to get out there,” Lue said. “But right now, it’s not the smartest thing to do with him feeling it and trying to manage it for the most part for a while now. We just got to be smart about it. Sometimes you got to protect the player from themselves, and right now that is what we are doing.”
Leonard missed four consecutive games last week, the last three attributed to right foot soreness. He returned for Sunday’s game and finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in 22 minutes during a blowout win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Clippers now have three starters sidelined by injuries. Patrick Beverley is out indefinitely with a fractured fourth metacarpal in his left hand suffered in a win over the Phoenix Suns on April 8. And center Serge Ibaka has missed 20 consecutive games with a back issue.
The Clippers are still looking to build continuity and chemistry under Lue and haven’t had much time together at full strength because of injuries. Last season, the Clippers had numerous disruptions due to injuries, the pandemic and key players having to leave the bubble for personal reasons, all of which impacted their chemistry in the postseason.
Leonard is averaging 25.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game this season. He has played in 46 games but has missed time because of injuries and health and safety protocols.