Fans of the LA Clippers were less than thrilled to see Kawhi Leonard go down hard late in the game on Wednesday against the Dallas Mavericks. After playing in the team's first 27 games this season, Kawhi missed his first game against the Thunder on Thursday due to hip soreness.
Leonard clearly aggravated his hip when he took a fall in the fourth quarter against Dallas. With a little under a minute go in the game and matched up with Grant Williams, Leonard absorbed a hit from the physical defender and fell to the floor, grabbing his hip and rolling over in discomfort.
With his history of injuries, there would appear to be every reason to be concerned with what happened given that the hit caused Kawhi to miss his first game of the year. But let's dive a little deeper on this particular injury.
Kawhi's collision with Grant Williams aggravated his hip
Heading into the current season, Leonard had gone on record saying that he felt great physically. After playing the 2022-23 season coming off a major injury, he appeared to be in optimal shape.
This was shown to be true both by Kawhi's on-court play and by his continued comments about his body. Just earlier this week he remarked that this season is the first time he has able to finish games without dealing with pain since 2017, which is a huge statement.
Clearly, Kawhi was dealing with a significant amount of discomfort in his hip for him to sit out against the Thunder. When asked about it after the game Wednesday, Leonard said he was fine. However, we have seen him be optimistic about injuries even when he ended up being seriously hurt in the past.
Kawhi is not only a fun guy, he is a tough guy too. He will likely always downplay injuries in an effort to mentally get himself ready to be back on the court faster. In the end, we will probably not be able to make a true determination of the severity of his injury until we see how he looks in game action again.