LOS ANGELES: Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard will sit out a marquee clash with Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) as his team continues to manage his workload in view of a knee injury.
On the NBA’s official injury report the reason for Leonard’s absence is “injury/illness, load management (knee)”, and the NBA spoke up to say the move was indeed in line with its guidelines.
League spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement that Leonard “is not a healthy player under the league’s resting policy”, adding that the league office had consulted with the team and was “comfortable” with his absence.
The league prohibits teams from resting healthy players for high-profile nationally televised games, with a fine of $100,000 possible.
Leonard is expected to play on Thursday when the Clippers host Portland in another nationally televised clash.
But fans won’t see him go up against reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Antetokounmpo, after the two met in the Eastern Conference Finals last season when Leonard played for eventual NBA champions Toronto.
Even so early in the season, the Bucks-Clippers contest was touted as a possible NBA Finals preview.
Leonard is averaging 29.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists in six games this season. The Clippers are 5-1 when he plays, but he has already missed one game of a back-to-back for “load management” — a loss at the Utah Jazz last week.
Last season, Leonard credited the Raptors’ cautious management of his workload with having him fit for the team’s championship playoff run. He sat out 22 of 82 regular-season games and was at full force in the post-season.
Warriors center Looney
to miss at least two
Golden State Warriors center Kevon Looney will be sidelined at least two more weeks after tests for “nerve-related symptoms” that have seen him miss six NBA games.
“Warriors center Kevon Looney, who has missed the last six games due to nerve-related symptoms, recently underwent a battery of tests,” the Warriors said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Following the tests, we are hopeful and encouraged that the treatment plan prescribed for him will allow Kevon to return to action in the near future.
“An update on his expected return-to-play timeline will be provided in two weeks.”
The Warriors said in October that Looney was battling a “neuropathic condition” that had a “direct correlation” to a right hamstring injury that caused him to miss the pre-season.
He played in the Warriors’ season-opening loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on October 24, but exited at halftime because of tightness in the hamstring.
Looney didn’t travel with the Warriors to Houston, where they faced the Rockets on Wednesday in the first contest of a three-game road trip.
The Warriors are also without superstar Stephen Curry, who faces three months on the sidelines after surgery last week to repair his broken left hand.
Coach Steve Kerr said Wednesday that forward Draymond Green will miss at least three more games with ligament damage in his left index finger, an injury he suffered last week.
Guard D’Angelo Russell, who has been sidelined with a sprained ankle, travelled with the team and while he wasn’t ready to return against the Rockets there’s a chance he will play at Minnesota on Friday.
The Warriors, whose 2-5 start is their worst since the 2011-12 season, were already without shooting guard Klay Thompson, who could miss the entire season as he continues to recover from a torn knee ligament. AFP