The NBA says the Finals MVP is “not sufficiently healthy to play in back-to-back games at this time.”
Kawhi has averaged 29.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.3 steals in 30.5 minutes through six games for the 5-2 LA Clippers.
Per The LA Times:
“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 L.A. Clippers injury report,” league spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement sent to the Los Angeles Times. “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.”
The team similarly received league approval for Leonard’s previous load management-related absence this season, Oct. 30 against Utah, which was also an ESPN broadcast. Asked before that matchup against the Jazz what he would tell fans missing a chance to see Leonard, Clippers coach Doc Rivers called it “a tough one.”
“All I can say, if you’re a Clipper fan, that’s easy to explain,” Rivers said. “That’s who we should be concerned with more, to be honest. Having said that, you should care about all of the fans because they pay. Hopefully, we have enough on the floor that we’ll show them a good game. Now, if you’re a Kawhi fan and you’re from Utah, then that’s just a tough one. But there’s really no way around today and anywhere that anyone’s doing it.”