The LA Clippers begin their first back-to-back of the 2023-24 season on Tuesday night when they host the Orlando Magic at Crypto.com Arena. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are both healthy and playing well as the Clippers have won two of their first three games, despite other players missing time with injuries. The Magic are on the second night of a back-to-back after losing to the Lakers in LA on Oct. 30.
The Clippers finally pulled off the James Harden trade on Monday night, but trading four players to Philadelphia will leave them lacking depth on Tuesday evening.
Fans are wondering if Kawhi will play in both games of the team’s back-to-backs this season. The five-time All-Star has a lengthy injury history, but what is his status for the Halloween matchup against the Magic? Here’s everything we know so far.
Kawhi Leonard’s status for tonight’s game against Magic
Leonard is expected to play on Tuesday night. He is not listed on the NBA’s official injury report and has not missed a game this season. Head coach Tyronn Lue had this to say about the status of PG and Kawhi for the team’s back-to-back.
Kawhi Leonard’s injury history
Leonard has struggled with knee issues since playing for the Spurs. He left San Antonio in 2018, but the injuries have followed him. The five-time All-Star has not played more than 60 games in a season since 2017 and has appeared in just 161 regular season contests over the last four years combined.
Here is a look at the injuries that have caused him to miss at least five straight games since the start of the 2020-21 season.
- April 20, 2023: Torn meniscus in playoffs ended his season
- Nov. 23- Dec. 5, 2022: Sprained ankle (6 games)
- Oct. 25-Nov. 17, 2022- Knee pain (12 games)
- June 14, 2021-October 20, 2022- Torn ACL (Missed 90 total games)
- April 11-28, 2021- Foot soreness (missed 9 of 10 games)
Kawhi Leonard is the player who is synonymous with load management. He did it during the 2018-19 season with the Raptors before leading Toronto to a championship. The lengthy injury history forces the Clippers to manage Kawhi closely, and fans know he could sit at any moment.
Kawhi Leonard missed games by season
- 2023-24 season: 0 games missed
- 2022-23: 30 games
- 2021-22: 82 games (Sat entire season recovering from torn ACL)
- 2020-21: 20 games
- 2019-20: 15 games
- 2018-19: 22 games
- 2017-18: 73 games
- 2016-17: 8 games
- 2015-16: 10 games
- 2014-15: 18 games
- 2013-14: 16 games
- 2012-13: 24 games
- 2011-12: 2 games
Kawhi is not known for chasing awards and accolades, but he needs to play 65 games to be considered for All-NBA honors. The five-time All-NBA forward has not missed a contest yet this season, but it is still early.
Who would replace Kawhi Leonard in the lineup?
The LA Clippers would likely insert Norman Powell into the starting five if Kawhi Leonard sits. Powell is questionable with foot soreness.
Projected starting lineups tonight
- Russell Westbrook
- Paul George
- Kawhi Leonard
- Norman Powell
- Ivica Zubac
- Markelle Fultz
- Jalen Suggs
- Franz Wagner
- Paolo Banchero
- Wendell Carter Jr.
LA Clippers next 5 opponents
The Clippers host the Magic before starting a four-game road trip on Wednesday night as the visitor in LA against the Lakers. Here are the team’s next five games after facing Orlando.
- at Lakers, Nov. 1, 7 p.m. PT
- at Knicks, Nov. 6, 4:30 p.m. PT
- at Nets, Nov. 8, 4:30 p.m. PT
- at Mavericks, Nov. 10, 5:30 p.m. PT
- vs. Grizzlies Nov. 12, 12:30 p.m. PT
LA Clippers injury report
- Terance Mann (ankle sprain): OUT
- Brandon Boston Jr. (quad): OUT
- Norman Powell (foot soreness): QUESTIONABLE
- Ivica Zubac (thigh contusion): QUESTIONABLE
Orlando Magic injury report
- No injuries to report.
The LA Clippers are just starting a back-to-back and will monitor both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George closely over the next few days. After Wednesday’s game, the team does not play until Nov. 6, so the extra rest following could allow the two stars to suit up. Stay tuned for all the latest.