LA Clippers: Kawhi Leonard Seems Done With Load Management

LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

In the LA Clippers’ win against the Warriors, Kawhi Leonard played a back to back. Is the superstar forward done with load management?

Since before joining the LA Clippers, Kawhi Leonard participated in a load management plan that involved never playing both games of a back to back, to avoid aggravating an injured knee. Last year, we were accustomed to looking at a back to back on the schedule and asking “hmm, I wonder which game Kawhi will miss?”

Which made it a very pleasant surprise when, in the injury report for the Golden State game which was the second half of a back to back, Kawhi Leonard was a go. It was the first time the Klaw appeared in both games of a b2b since 2017, when he was still a Spur.

And despite the game being ugly, and most minds being elsewhere, Kawhi did play well, putting up a 21/4/4 statline on 7 for 12 shooting. In a game where points were at a premium, having both of our superstars (all 3, counting Nic Batum) was likely the difference between pulling out the win and suffering another unfortunate loss.

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In post game interviews, when asked whether this was a one-off, or if we could expect this going forward, Kawhi responded:

"“I mean, I think I’ll be playing, pretty much. The last few years I was injured, so I was working on getting my leg stronger. It’s been a long time, but I was patient, and I’m able to play.”"

He would go on to mention that, during the short offseason, he worked out four or five times in a row some weeks, and that his body feels good.

Encouraging words to hear for fans of the LA Clippers! It sounds like Kawhi is healthier than he’s been in recent years, and he’s ready to play a full schedule and help the team win. You have to think the Clippers have a great shot at one of the top two seeds in the Western Conference if he’s able to do that.

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We still don’t know what the second half of the season will look like, but the Clips have 4 more back to backs on the schedule in the first half. They’ve all got games involved that, if Kawhi were to keep load managing, would make more sense for him to miss (for example, one set is Brooklyn then Cleveland). However, Kawhi playing both of them will help the team win the games they’re supposed to win, while still pushing to beat the very best teams in the league.