Leonard will miss Wednesday night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks on ESPN, the second straight week his national TV absence fell on the opening game of a Clippers back-to-back.
“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,” spokesman Mike Bass told ESPN on Wednesday. “The league office, in consultation with the NBA’s director of sports medicine, is comfortable with team medical staff’s determination that Leonard is not sufficiently healthy to play in back-to-back games at this time.”
The Clippers and Leonard are working on a long-range plan to keep him healthy, and that will continue to include sitting out portions of back-to-backs, as well as other limitations on him during the season.
Leonard and the Clippers could’ve chosen the non-national TV game of last week’s back-to-back for his absence, but they weren’t required to do so under the league’s resting policy. Because Leonard is deemed to be hurt, resting policy rules don’t apply.
Leonard hasn’t played a back-to-back since early April 2017 for San Antonio. The Clippers and Leonard have no plans in near future for him to return to back-to-back participation in the regular season, sources told ESPN.
Leonard did not play in the Clippers’ 110-96 loss at Utah last Wednesday, which was televised nationally on ESPN. The Clippers-Bucks game will be aired on ESPN, and Thursday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers will be on TNT.
Leonard has averaged 29.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.3 steals in six games this season.
All-Star forward Paul George is moving closer to making his season debut, planning to participate in 5-on-5 practice on Saturday. He has yet to make his Clippers debut after offseason surgery on both of his shoulders.