Should LA Clipper fans begin to worry about Leonard’s knee injury?

Kawhi Leonard, Reggie Jackson, LA Clippers - Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Kawhi Leonard, Reggie Jackson, LA Clippers - Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /

Eight games into the most crucial season in franchise history, the LA Clippers have shown signs of championship potential. However, they have a long way to go regarding their mistakes so far. The roster is still adjusting to their new roles, making it difficult for head coach Tyronn Lue to build different rotations.

A surprise that came to fans before opening night was the decision to bench the franchise star, Kawhi Leonard. While the reasoning made sense, having Leonard enter the game during the second quarter can change the outcome through several different aspects.

The match-up against the Phoenix Suns is a perfect example. The LA Clippers struggled early in the game, making it challenging for Leonard to help spark a comeback. This was one of the reasons why the Clippers came up short, resulting in their first loss of the season.

Furthermore, questions have surrounded Leonard as he has been ruled out for seven games due to knee stiffness. Lue has mentioned how Leonard is frustrated and is not where he wants to be in terms of games played. This may come off as concerning for Clipper fans because it has been well over a year since his ACL surgery.

With an immensely deep roster, Kawhi Leonard can take as much time as he needs to fully recover.

Though the LA Clippers have shown signs of improvement, it is clear how valuable Kawhi Leonard is to the overall game. Leonard’s impact is irreplaceable when healthy, as he poses no weaknesses to opposing teams. This not only eases the pressure on his co-star, Paul George, but also allows the rest of the roster to find open shots around the perimeter.

Moreover, Leonard’s knee stiffness should be nothing to worry about. Coming off the bench isn’t ideal for the two-time champion, as he feels he can contribute much more when playing 30+ minutes. Despite his frustration, the doctors and staff feel he is not ready for that type of pressure, thus the minute restriction.

In addition, Leonard’s stats have also taken a fall in the two games he has played this season. Although this is a minimal sample size, his shooting splits have also been unusual. This adds to how Leonard is not entirely healthy and why he may be frustrated with the current recovery process.

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After being ruled out against the San Antonio Spurs, the LA Clippers will need Leonard through the following match-ups. This will also show Lue and the organization where the Clippers are when fully healthy and what they need to improve. Additionally, Leonard’s knee stiffness should not bring any concerns as the team is being cautious with a long season ahead of them.